Military and Military Families
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joe has the privilege of working on the issues that directly affect the security of our nation, our military and their families. He takes great pride in the role that Indiana National Guard, military installations, and suppliers have played in protecting our homeland, and protecting our men and women serving at home and abroad. Joe also sits on three subcommittees: as Ranking Member on Strategic Forces, and on Airland and Emerging Threats and Capabilities.
Indiana has a proud tradition of serving our nation. We have 65 Army and Air National Guard installations, with 14,000 service members. We are the fourth largest National Guard contingent in the country. Learn more about the Indiana National Guard here.
Improving Mental Health Screening & Services to Help Prevent Military Suicide
One of Joe’s primary focuses as a member of the Armed Services Committee is how to address the rise in military and veteran suicides. With more active duty servicemembers dying in 2012, 2013, and 2014 as a result of suicide than in combat in Afghanistan, Joe thinks that we must work to provide our troops with the mental health services needed to prevent suicide and aid servicemembers transitioning home or to civilian life.
Joe’s first bill as U.S. Senator was the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2013. In 2014, after he received feedback from the Department of Defense, current servicemembers, and mental health providers, Joe introduced the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2014, which requires yearly mental health assessments for all serving in Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve. This bill was signed into law in December of 2014. Learn more about the Sexton Act here.
In March 2015, Joe introduced his “Servicemember and Veteran Mental Health Care Package” (“Care Package”), three bipartisan bills to help improve mental health outcomes for servicemembers and veterans. The “Care Package” would address the next step in the continuum of care, focusing on mental health care providers. It includes legislation that would:
- Require Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to direct health care providers to use the best available tools to identify and treat mental health conditions;
- Provide new incentives for community providers to enhance their knowledge of military culture and mental health challenges unique to troops and veterans; and
- Address nationwide provider shortages in DoD and VA through mental health care training for physician assistants (PAs).
Learn more about the Care Package here.