Service members transitioning out of the military should take advantage of the growing number of resources at their disposal, urges Army Lt. Gen. Mike Ferriter, commander, Installation Management Command.

"Soldiers deliver for the Army and for the nation–I’ve seen it throughout my career, never more so than during my time in Iraq. So when you decide it’s time to move on to the next stage of your life, it’s only right that we should have a plan, prepare together, and then execute with energy to ensure success," he said.

On the front line of soldier and family issues at installations across the globe, Installation Management Command has also seen local communities step up. From career fairs to employers actively seeking veterans for hiring initiatives, opportunities are available. But service members must also take the necessary steps, and plan ahead of a transition.

"The key is to get to ACAP [the Army Career and Alumni Program] early–at least 12 months out for separating Soldiers or two years out for retiring Soldiers. Talk with an ACAP counselor about your goals–continuing military service, getting a job, going back to school or starting a business–and lay out a plan to get there," said Ferriter.

Lt. Gen. Ferriter echos the increasing emphasis on veteran unemployment and military transition assistance from Army senior leadership. With troop drawdowns already occurring and veteran unemployment remaining high, expect more senior leaders to focus not just on the troops that are currently under their wing, but also those preparing to enter the civilian workforce.

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Lindy Kyzer is the editor of She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.