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Paying Tribute to Our Veterans

Of the many proud traditions we observe at the Department of Justice, one of the proudest is the support we give to our veterans.  More than 28,000 veterans serve the department, just over one quarter of our workforce.  They enforce our nation’s laws, prosecute federal defendants, guard prisoners and aid our state and local public safety partners, protecting our country from threats both foreign and domestic and ensuring the fair administration of justice for all.

Our veterans battled abroad for our freedoms and returned home determined to continue fighting for our liberties.  We owe them an enormous debt.  We address that obligation in many ways, including by supporting them in their transition to civilian life.  Under President Obama’s Veterans Employment Initiative, the Department of Justice has made veterans hiring a priority.  We were among the first agencies to create a Veterans Employment Office, and under our Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program, we are helping to put veterans to work in state and local law enforcement agencies.

Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Roundtable

We are also working tirelessly to ensure that all veterans and servicemembers enjoy the rights and protections that they have given so much to uphold.  Through our Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative, federal lawyers and the military legal community are working together to make sure that those who wear the uniform are treated fairly and protected from fraud, job discrimination, wrongful foreclosures and unlawful voting restrictions.

Our Civil Rights Division secured settlements with five of the nation’s largest mortgage services, making more than $311 million in compensation available to 2,400 service members who were victimized by unlawful foreclosures.  Almost 78,000 servicemembers are benefitting from the department’s $60 million settlement with Sallie Mae for overcharging on student loans.  And we continue to resolve cases under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, providing remedies to members of the military for housing violations, unlawful auto repossessions and credit card fraud.

Just last week, the department was proud to announce two additional measures.  Under the auspices of the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative, which is now a permanent part of the Office of the Associate Attorney General, we established the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Enforcement Support Pilot Program, which will increase the number of attorneys working on SCRA cases and cross-designate judge advocates to serve as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys.  The department has also directed every U.S. Attorney to designate an Assistant U.S. Attorney to act as liaison to the initiative, guaranteeing that the issues unique to military members in each district get the attention they deserve.

I know our fellow Americans share the Justice Department’s high esteem and deep gratitude for our nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsman.  Our veterans were willing to leave their families, travel to foreign shores and place themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom.  They deserve the promise of justice and fair treatment that the Department of Justice exists to fulfill.  We are grateful for their sacrifice and will continue to be their champion.   And, in those unfortunate cases in which unscrupulous corporations and individuals seek to profit from their service, the department has been and will continue to be quick to take action. The work, for us, is personal.

For more information about the resources available to our servicemembers and veterans, I encourage you to visit the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative website.

Updated March 3, 2017

Topic
Servicemembers Initiative