Veterans enjoy numerous privileges under the G.I bill having actively served in the armed forces in an honorable manner. The privileges range from health services to educational benefits. Apart from being able to cover for up to sixteen health conditions, the veteran services also offer education benefits for their family members and dependents. The Veteran Service Officers are responsible for overseeing that veterans receive such services. The establishment of the Veteran Administration allows prospective officers that served in World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and other areas of service to join the services through an application process. The Veteran Administration has established a stepwise process used to register officers into the Veteran Service Office. In addition, there are standards that have been set which once met, one can be become a Veteran Service Officer, VSO. This paper reviews what it takes for a person to become a VSO. The key requirements will include the fundamental qualifications and the level of discipline and performance among others.
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The first key consideration for one to become an officer of the veteran service, one has to have served diligently in the armed forces and discharged honorably (Ohio Admin). This means that prospective applicants, despite the fact that they had served in the armed forces of the United States, the circumstances surrounding the discharge must be clear. Members who served in the forces are required to produce their clearance documents indicating that they executed the duties they had been assigned during the period of service accordingly. Former members of the forces who have been discharged dishonorably, either through untimely termination of their duties due negligence, abuse of power or any other activities that violates their code of conduct are not eligible for consideration in the office of the veterans’ service. In addition, even though members had been discharged honorably during their service in the forces, they need to submit proof through the submission of an approved DD214 form. This requirement is important to the veteran service officers because it indicates the discipline and dedication of the former officers to their duties either within the country or during the missions. In the management of veteran services, integrity and leadership skill among the officers is important in the development and discharging of policies in the force as well as after the force through the veteran service.
In addition to having served in the forces, for one to become an officer of the veteran service, one has to have graduated from high school or from a level that is equivalent to a high school graduate (Ohio Admin). Those wishing to join the veteran services office will be required to produce their certifications as prove of graduation from high school. Also, it is a minimum requirement for the prospective VSOs to complete a background investigation that is carried out by a local law enforcement agency (Ohio Admin). The investigation is comprehensive in nature and has to meet satisfactory standard to the veteran administration. It is also crucial to note that prospective veteran officer who served in the forces and sustained injuries leading to any form of disability are given a recruitment preference as compared to others without disabilities. In the selection of veteran service officers, academic and professional qualifications of the officers is important in the provision of services in the veterans department due to the knowledge and skills of the officers that can be put into good use after accomplishing the force. This is because the veteran service officers discharge administrative and management duties within the veterans department and therefore academic or professional qualification attained by an individual could be a valuable contribution to the department.
After meeting the key requirements, those who wish to become veteran officers are required to make an application to become members of the veteran services. The membership is part of the accreditation which is also a key requirement for veteran officers (Legal Information Institute). Application for membership also requires that applicants make annual payments, which serve as subscriptions. The membership application and subscription through payments is important because without the payments, veterans are likely to lose their accreditation. Subsequently, loss of accreditation can in turn lead to loss of their position as veteran service officer. In the United States, war veterans should apply for membership in accordance to the G.I. bill so as to enjoy the benefits that are provided under the veteran services in the community. Therefore to be a veteran service officer, membership to the service is among the requirements that are mandatory to the individuals.
The process of becoming an officer of the veteran service also involves attending trainings organized and sponsored by the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers, NACVSO. The trainings can come as annual conferences or through contract training. The essence of the training is to help the potential members of the service to understand what it entails to work as a VSO (Dufault, Stacy Jo). In addition, the trainings help members to clearly understand their roles, part of which is that includes understanding the establishments in the constitution that affect veterans. The veterans are also meant to understand the areas that the jurisdiction department of the Veteran Administration.
As part of the accreditation process, it is also required that those wishing to become officers to take an accreditation course that culminates in an exam (Dufault, Stacy Jo). Once the tested is passed, an officer can fill a veteran accreditation memorandum of understanding accessible through the veteran accreditation database. In addition, the applicant ought to submit a veteran accreditation form 21 and also the DD214 honorable discharge form indicating all the periods of service. The applicant is also required to submit a copy of a certificate from the National Association of County Veterans Service Office accreditation training (Legal Information Institute). The details required in the veteran accreditation form 21 include the name of the applicant, the business address, branch of service in which the veteran served, and the list of all dates they were in active service (Dufault, Stacy Jo). The applicants are also required to indicate whether one wishes to serve as representatives. It is also a requirement in the form to indicate on whether they have been accredited in other organizations.
Prospective VSOs can increase the diversity of their employment profile through acquiring more than one accreditation. This can be achieved through a process of cross accreditation. One good example of cross accreditation is cited when a member who has undergone contract training by NACVSO, undergoes a further Training, Responsibility, Involvement, and Preparation of Claims (TRIP) Program (Dufault, Stacy Jo). There are a number of organizations responsible for accreditation of veterans. They include American Veterans (AMVETS), Disabled American Veterans, Military Order Purple Heart, The Retired Enlisted Association, and Vietnam Veterans of America.
From the foregoing, various qualifications to join the office of the veteran service have been outlined. However, for the veteran representatives to execute their tasks in various offices, they have to possess various skills some of which they trained during the accreditation process (Veterans Affairs Department Policy). For instance, for one to qualify to become a Veteran Service Representative, they have to exhibit a combination of interpersonal skills, have good networking attributes, uphold dynamic associations in substantive job related relationships, and be punctual.
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Veteran Service Officers or Representatives are required to be good in interacting with other personnel within the organization, the public, and other agencies. Among their interpersonal skills, the officers required to uphold respect on the privacy of other colleagues. A customer service officer, for instance, should avoid office gossip (Veterans Affairs Department Policy). In addition, they are supposed to be in a position to serve as an advisory to their supervisors in helping come up with solutions. All officers should work towards achieving the common objective of the department. They should exhibit teamwork by assisting other coworkers and officers from other departments to execute their functions. In addition, a veteran representative should be able to the departments set dress code. The department stipulates that officers of the veteran service community should dress in a manner that upholds professionalism cognizant of the environment in the office. The neatness should also be seen in the manner in which the work is done. Work should be well organized and neatness eminent at the workstation.
It is a requirement for those who wish to become Veteran Service Officers to consistently preserve a positive attitude (Veterans Affairs Department Policy). Officers should present flexible and adjustable attributes especially during the periods when the organization undergoes structural or procedural changes. This is also the case when they are being assigned new duties. Employees in the veterans office should be willing develop and be open to new work approaches. According to the Veteran Affairs department, those who seek positions in the various offices should prompt and punctual with an understanding of the effects that absenteeism is likely to cause on the level of work performances.
Ethics and integrity is one of the major attributes that can significantly aid officers in sustaining their jobs for long. Veterans, during their execution of duties, encounter confidential cases. It calls for good ethics and high integrity to maintain the nature of confidentiality (Veterans Department). In addition, officers need to be able to take initiative in educating themselves on the scope of work being executed by the office. Officers ought to perform their roles with minimum supervision. In order to succeed as veteran officers, workers are required proactively develop possible areas of improvements on the procedures established within their area of specialty. Also, Communication is also another aspect that is fundamental for a veteran officer (Veterans Affairs Department Policy). It is not only advantageous but also fundamental for officers to possess proficient communication skills, both written and oral. Since most of the tasks handled by the employees involve interaction and conveyance of complex ideas to the public, effective communication becomes an essential factor. Other qualifications required in different offices such as Advocacy and Networking include ability to comprehend the logic behind the development of veteran claims, performance of community outreach activities, and carrying out of briefings to the workforce in the military.
Ryan Gallucci who is a researcher in the department of interior summarizes the requirements of for the accreditation of veteran service officers and states that among the basic requirements include that an individual should be of good conduct and character in the society as well as being a member of the veteran service. The Department of Veterans Affairs accreditation course is also required in the recruitment of a veteran service officer (Gallucci, Ryan). The department of Veteran Affairs accreditation is important in the developing the reputation and character of an prospective veteran service officer through the knowledge and skills provided through its course work. Therefore the accreditation requirement for the veteran service officers is important in providing the officers with the knowledge and professional skill for administration and management of veteran affairs in the United States.
Therefore based on the analysis of the requirement for an individual to become a veteran service officer, the requirements are geared towards ensuring that the veteran service officers selected for the duty are dedicated and competent in exercising their duties. In the service, academic and professional qualification alongside the experience of the veteran officers in war is also important for the development of veteran services in the country due to the administrative and management function of the officers. In the United States, the veteran service officers therefore ensures that the war veteran attains the benefits of their membership to the veteran services in the community and thus enhance the political stability of the defense forces through rewarding the veterans for their service to the country.
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- Dufault, Stacy Jo. “Becoming An Accredited Service Officer.” National Services; County Veterans Services Office, 2017, pp. 3-9.
- Gallucci, Ryan. “Veterans of Foreign Wars of The United States-National Veterans Service Policy & Procedure.” 2016.
- Legal Information Institute. “38 CFR 14.629 – Requirements For Accreditation Of Service Organization Representatives; Agents; And Attorneys..” LII / Legal Information Institute, 2017.
- Ohio Admin. “5902-1-03 Criteria For Hiring County Veterans Service Officers..” Codes.Ohio.Gov, 2017.
- Ohio Admin. “5902-1-01 Training And Education..” Codes.Ohio.Gov, 2017.
- Veterans Affairs Department Policy. 5-05.2 Policies And Procedures: VRS Work Performance Evaluation. Veterans Affairs Department, San Bernadino County, 2015, pp. 1-3.
- Veterans Department. “The Role Of A County Veteran’s Service Officer.” Co.Genesee.Ny.Us, 2017.