About the Initiative

About the Initiative

Our Mission

The Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative coordinates with Department of Justice components and federal agencies to build a comprehensive legal support and protection network focused on serving servicemembers, veterans, and their families.  The Department is tasked with enforcing certain laws that protect the rights of servicemembers.  The Initiative builds upon this critical enforcement work, as well as the work of other Department components that serve the military community including the Consumer Protection Branch, by sharing information, identifying servicemember and veteran needs, and coordinating the distribution of resources https://www.justice.gov/civil/practice-areas.  The Initiative’s mission is to support the Department in its efforts to protect those who protect us all.

On Jan. 5, 2021, President Donald J. Trump signed H.R. 8354, the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act of 2020, a bill to permanently establish the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative, or “SVI”, within the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. 
Read the bill.

Upholding The Law

  • The Department protects a servicemember's civilian employment rights by enforcing the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act ("USERRA"), Pub. L. No. 103-353, 108 Stat. 3149 (codified in scattered sections of 38 U.S.C.).
  • The Department protects military voting rights by enforcing the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 ("UOCAVA"), 52 U.S.C. §§ 20301-20311.
  • The Department promotes financial security for servicemembers, recent veterans, and military family members through its Servicemembers Civil Relief Act ("SCRA"), 50 U.S.C. §§ 3901-4043, actions brought on behalf of the United States.
  • The Initiative identifies current legal issues affecting servicemembers and veterans, and coordinates with Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Offices of the United States Attorneys, other federal agencies and bureaus, and legal assistance providers to resolve those issues.

Legal Education

The Department provides training to United States Attorneys’ Offices on the laws the Department enforces on behalf of servicemembers, veterans, and their families.

The Initiative has partnered with the Department’s pro bono project and other outside legal providers to enlist and train volunteer attorneys.

The Initiative promotes toolkits for attorneys that address the specialized laws and resources available to stop or respond to consumer fraud targeting servicemembers and veterans.  Again, no information or documents found on this website should be deemed to encourage any person or entity outside the federal government from taking any action, or refraining from taking any action, beyond what is required by the terms of any applicable statute or regulation.

For The Military Community

The Initiative provides servicemembers, veterans, and their families with online information on the laws that protect them, and about the legal resources within their communities.

The Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance maintains a training curriculum for veterans’ treatment courts.  These courts promote sobriety, recovery, and stability for veterans who become involved in the criminal justice system and who are also struggling with mental health issues or battling addictions.

The Initiative has a dedicated telephone line used to field calls from servicemembers, veterans, and their family members, and it strives to provide callers with contact information for local legal resources and education on the statutes that protect their rights.  However, please note that the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative is unable to provide legal advice or opinions.

Community Listening Sessions

The Initiative facilitates and coordinates listening sessions between Department leaders and members of the military to identify the legal issues impacting today’s servicemembers.

Strengthening Protections

In an effort to enhance the Department’s ability to protect servicemembers, in November 2015 the Department submitted to Congress a legislative package of amendments to laws that protect members of the military.  The Initiative worked closely with other Department components to achieve this submission.  These proposed amendments would strengthen the protections currently in place by:

  • requiring parties seeking default judgments against individuals to first check Department of Defense records to determine military duty status;
  • increasing penalties that employers, lenders, and landlords would face for violating laws designed to protect servicemembers;
  • expanding the number and types of cases the United States could bring in defense of servicemembers attempting to return to their civilian employment upon completion of their military service;
  • expanding the available remedies for violations of the voting rights of active duty servicemembers (and their families) while they are deployed away from home;
  • affording dependent family members the same state residency rights as the servicemember; and
  • requiring states to recognize a servicemember spouse’s professional licensures from other states.
Servicemember and Veteran Question/Complaint Form

General Information

Leadership 

Silas Darden
Deputy Associate Attorney General
Director of the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative

Andrew Braniff
Acting Director

Nicole Siegel
Assistant Director

Contact 

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
4 Constitution Square
150 M St. NE
Washington, DC 20530
202-307-SCRA (7272)
Fax: (202) 514-1005
servicemembers@usdoj.gov

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