Kerrey, Bob

Bob Kerrey is president of The New School and winner of The Congressional Medal of Honor.

Send Veterans to Re-Boot Camp: Help Soldiers in the Painful Transition Back to Civilian Life

By Bob Kerrey and Pete Wikul

Just as they go to boot camp on the way in, American servicemen and women need re-boot camp on their way out of the service.

Boot camp, also known as basic training, has a purpose: Teaching young men and women the basics of military life. How to render a right-hand salute. How to march. How to obey the chain of command. How the Uniform Code of Military Justice differs from civil and criminal law.

And countless other serious and nonserious things as well.

It works. Even after a relatively short period of time, military personnel acquire the habits essential for success in the armed services. Some of these habits - paying attention to detail, acquiring a mission-oriented sense of urgency, dealing with personal deprivation, learning to lead and learning to follow - can be applied with great benefit in civilian life.