In June 2013, Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno announced that the Army will cut 80,000 soldiers within the next five years. Four months later in September 2013, General Odierno announced the downsizing of the Army's active end strength is being accelerated, with plans to drop from 532,530 to 490,000 moved up to 2015 instead of 2017. The Air Force, Marine and Navy will also face downsizing.
There is a bright side to the gloomy prospect of military downsizing. Federal, state, local governments, nonprofits, and corporate America understand it is important to provide a safe landing for our defenders of freedom. In addition to providing job opportunities and careers for transitioning veterans, supporting veteran entrepreneurship is a significant focus of these various entities. The Department of Veteran Affairs, is aggressively leading this effort. This is proper and fitting for the agency responsible for veterans and with the mission to:
“To fulfill President Lincoln's promise "To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan" by serving and honoring the men and women who are America's veterans.”
Any aspiring veteran entrepreneur should start with the Veteran’s Administration website and click on the Business link at the top of the page. This link starting your business is a must read. It provides information on starting a business, funding and financing, franchising opportunities, small business resource partners, corporate partners, training and development, resource and tools, and the Mentor-Protégé Program.
Also it is paramount for aspiring veteran entrepreneurs to read the information on the Vets First Contracting Program. Through the Vets First Contracting Program, verified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Veteran Owned Small Business are eligible to compete for set-aside and sole source contracts. The Vet First Contracting Program provides a competitive advantage to veterans interested in doing business with the government.
The Veteran’s Administration website provides a wealth of information to support veteran entrepreneurship and this reflects the leadership’s commitment to supporting the success of veterans who choose the entrepreneurship option in view of the pending rightsizing of the military services.