During a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) surprisingly advocated for less government interference, and on behalf of our military veterans no less.
The conversation started when Warren asked Sgt. Major of the Army Daniel Dailey about veterans who learn to drive trucks in the most hazardous of environments.
“The Army trains thousands of soldiers every year to drive trucks in the most difficult conditions: In combat. With hazardous cargo. At night. In sandstorms. You name it. If it’s tough, you train people to do it," began Warren. "So you would say those folks are pretty good truck drivers?"
“I would say in my opinion they’re the best in the world, ma'am," replied Dailey.
“Best truck drivers in the world. That sounds like an expert opinion on that," continued Warren. "So with those kinds of skills, when they transition from the Army, it is reasonable to assume they could sign on with any long-haul trucking company and hit the interstate the next day, right?”
Dailey responded that while they are more than qualified in terms of skills, veterans typically are not immediately qualified for civilian positions they would excel at due to governmental red tape.
“It’s a complicated matter," answered Dailey. "First and foremost, one, we have to credential them, those young men and women. Two, we have to work the requirements of each and every one of the 54 states and territories that license those trucks.”
“So we have a state and national licensing problem here, and we can’t take the world’s best truck drivers and just automatically move them into civilian truck driving jobs," said Warren.
Warren also questioned Master Chief Petty Officer Steven S. Giordano of the Navy, and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody along a similar vein, wondering if the same could said for those veterans who are highly trained air traffic controllers. Troops that direct aircraft worth millions of dollars, filled with military men and women in sometimes hazardous conditions. The same in the Navy, where soldiers are taught how to use high tech equipment in high stress positions. However, many still run into licensing problems.
This is a problem that Warren wants to fix, and she sums it up on her public Facebook page nicely.
If you can drive a military truck in combat, with hazardous cargo, at night, through a sandstorm, then you can drive a commercial truck on an interstate. If you can dock or anchor a 10,000 ton warship under extreme stress, you can do the same thing for a small commercial ship. We spend hundreds of millions to train our service members to do highly skilled jobs, and they are the best at what they do. But too many still struggle to transition into civilian jobs because they don't have the right certifications and licenses – even when they’re being hired to do the exact same thing under much less taxing conditions.
We've made progress on this issue over the last few years, and I don’t want to lower civilian standards – but I don’t believe for one second that these individuals aren’t ready to do the equivalent civilian jobs the day they leave the military. They shouldn’t end up buried in paperwork or dump their money into a shady for-profit college to do it. Let’s fix this problem.
You can watch the exchange for yourself below: