Wounding Warriors: How Bad Policy Is Making Veterans Sicker and Poorer by LTC Daniel M Gade PhD (US Army Ret.) and journalist Dan Xin Huang. Publication date: 5 Oct 2021.
According to General Jim Mattis, former US Secretary of Defense, Wounding Warriors is “an unflinching appraisal…a must-read for those committed to caring for our Veterans who have borne the battle.”
Indeed, Wounding Warriors: How Bad Policy Is Making Veterans Sicker and Poorer is a transformational effort of research into the Department of Veterans Affairs and the US military.
Authors Daniel Gade — retired US Army lieutenant colonel, professor, public policy leader, and former US Senate candidate from Virginia — and former Wall Street Journal Reporter Dan Xing Huang interviewed dozens of veterans who saw the perverse structure of incentives within the VA from the inside.
The authors also combed through years of research literature and compiled a wealth of data that demonstrates beyond all reasonable doubt that our system of caring for veterans is broken.
As former US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in his review of the book, it is “an unflinching appraisal” of how the Department of Veterans Affairs rewards disingenuity and dishonesty.
However, Wounding Warriors does more than identify flaws in how veterans are cared for after their time in service is up. It also outlines solutions that would move veterans to take a healthy approach to post-military life.
Wounding Warriors is a must-read for veterans, their families, and anyone who has felt subjected to a corrupt system of bad incentives.
(emphasis added; light editing for clarity)
Gade, Daniel M. and Dan Xing Huang. Wounding Warriors. Ballast Books, 2021. ISBN 1955026998, 9781955026994.
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"As a US Army veteran and former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, I find this book to be a breath of fresh air.
In Wounding Warriors, Daniel Gade, himself a seriously wounded warrior, dissects and critiques some of the serious issues that beset our nation's worthy attempts to care for our wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans.
His credibility is ironclad and his argument is stunning: in attempting to care for veterans, our disability system creates incentives that make them sicker, poorer, and worse off.
This is a must-read for policy makers and anyone involved in care for veterans, as well as for veterans and their families."
- COL Jim Nicholson MPP JD (US Army Ret.); Secretary, Dep't Veterans Affairs (2005–2007); advance review of Wounding Warriors.
“This revelatory, lens-changing book shows why our VA, staffed by devoted and capable medical professionals, must change. Institutions get the behavior they reward.
Seen through the experience of a clear-eyed, seriously wounded warrior, the current system’s design and application guides vets coming in with no intent of becoming wards of the state into that very situation. Those with serious problems are submerged in a sea of others who are rewarded for staying in an unimproved situation.
In Wounding Warriors Daniel Gade has made an unflinching appraisal and charted a refreshing path forward for making the VA best in class.
A ‘must read’ for those committed to caring for our veterans who have borne the battle.”
- Gen Jim Mattis (USMC Ret.); Secretary, Dep't Defense (2017–2019); advance review of Wounding Warriors: How Bad Policy Is Making Veterans Sicker and Poorer.
"Daniel Gade's real education came after losing his leg fighting in Iraq. The most disturbing lesson paradoxically came from the agency that was supposed to help put him back together.
What Gade discovered both through his own experiences and extensive research of others’ is this: rather than assisting warriors in returning to productive lives, the Veterans Administration encourages fraud and rewards indolence, further marginalizing these men and women and robbing the nation of their potentially robust contributions and continued service post-war.
These meticulously researched findings set to compelling human narratives won't make Gade very popular. But they represent the brave effort and convincing factual evidence necessary for the hard work of systemic change when the system is broken."
- Kevin Sites, author of Swimming with Warlords
“[Wounding Warriors shows that] the current system promotes waste and abuse not only of VA disability payments but of unnecessary medical appointments.
It would almost be better to give soldiers a piece of paper that asks, "Are you willing to lie, cheat, and/or steal to receive 100 percent disability?" and if they check yes, just give them 100 percent because it will free up waste from unnecessary imaging, behavioral health, sleep studies, etc.”
- MAJ [Name Withheld], PT, DPT, MHA, MBA; US Army
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