American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger is lauding the U.S. Senate for its passage of a measure that would help streamline the military to civilian licensing and credentialing process. Key provisions of the Legion-backed "Troop Talent Act of 2013" – which dealt with licensing and credentialing issues – were included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA was given the Senate's nod on the night of Dec. 19.
The Senate version of the Troop Talent Act was introduced earlier this year by newly elected Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. It was his first bill. Legion staff conferred with Kaine and his staff on the text of the measure and provided Kaine with a letter of support for the bill.
Upon learning of the Senate's action, Dellinger said, "On behalf of the 2.4 million members of The American Legion, I congratulate the Senate for its inclusion of the Troop Talent Act provisions within the National Defense Authorization Act. The Legion worked closely with Sen. Kaine and his staff on this measure and we take pride in its passage as part of our longstanding and ongoing campaign to streamline military to civilian licensing and credentialing for our servicemembers, veterans and their families."
In a press release from his office, Kaine is quoted as saying, "It will now be the law to provide active duty servicemembers with the tools they need to more easily receive credentials for the skills they acquire through military training, greatly easing their transition to a civilian career. This is a small but important step to help whittle away at the unacceptably high rate of veterans' unemployment – particularly among those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan."
The Troop Talent Act related provisions of the 2014 NDAA include a requirement that information on civilian credentialing opportunities be made available to servicemembers at every stage of their military training. The newly passed NDAA also contains as a requirement that information on military training and experience be provided, upon request, to civilian credentialing agencies and other approved entities.
The American Legion provided Troop Talent Act support to U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois as she introduced the House version of the legislation earlier in the year, too.
The American Legion has been concerned with the issue of military to civilian licensing and credentialing for a decade and a half. In 2012, Legion leadership passed its Resolution No. 326 : Support Licensure and Certification of Active-Duty and Selected Reserve Personnel. In that same year, the Legion hosted a National Licensing and Credentialing Summit. The two-day event brought together stakeholders from national and state government, the Pentagon and private industry, and boosted the Legion's veterans employment campaign significantly.