Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
VA’s mission is to serve America’s Veterans and their families with dignity and compassion and to be their principal advocate in ensuring that they receive medical care, benefits, social support, and lasting memorials promoting the health, welfare, and dignity of all Veterans in recognition of their service to this Nation.
VA is the second largest Federal department and has over 278,000 employees. Among the many professions represented in the vast VA workforce are physicians, nurses, counselors, statisticians, architects, computer specialists, and attorneys. As advocates for Veterans and their families, the VA community is committed to providing the very best services with an attitude of caring and courtesy.
VA comprises a Central Office (VACO), which is located in Washington, DC, and field facilities throughout the Nation administered by its three major line organizations: Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration, and National Cemetery Administration.
Services and benefits are provided through a nationwide network of 153 hospitals, 956 outpatient clinics, 134 community living centers, 90 domiciliary residential rehabilitation treatment programs, 232 Vet centers, 57 Veterans benefits regional offices, and 131 national cemeteries.
Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs)
Veterans Service Organizations are non-government organizations that advocate for and assist Veterans, while also providing opportunities for Veterans to get involved in the larger community. Their particular roles and activities will vary. A directory of all VSOs is available on the VA Web site.
Three of the largest VSOs are Disabled American Veterans (www.dav.org), the American Legion (www.legion.org), and Veterans of Foreign Wars (www.vfw.org). Visit their national web sites to find local contacts. Other VSOs serve Veterans who have traditionally been underrepresented, for example, the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans and the National Association for Black Veterans (www.nabvets.com).
Veteran Alumni Organizations (VAOs)
Veteran Alumni Organizations are groups of Veterans who share common interests and experiences. The structure and activities of these organizations will vary. To find Veteran alumni groups in your area, visit Vet Friends.