The sobering images coming from Afghanistan and the impact they have on those who have so bravely and honorably served the United States in uniform or as part of combat missions cannot be understated. As a veteran who served in Iraq and spent time on the ground in Afghanistan, I deeply understand the mixed reactions one may feel.
Many of those servicemembers and civilians are now our DHS colleagues; we lean on their deep commitment to safeguarding the American people, our homeland, and our values every day.
Former servicemembers and civilians who worked on or in Afghanistan may experience many different, and even conflicting, emotions at this time.
You are not alone.
I want each of you to know that we stand with you today and every day.
DHS has been a part of the mission in Afghanistan for many years, including having security and customs officers working side by side with Afghan counterparts to assist securing commerce and travel. The dedication and service each of you have brought to the mission does not and will never go unnoticed.
There are resources available for you – or anyone you know – both within DHS and in the broader Veterans community.
- DHS Employee Assistance Programs are available 24 hours a day and are confidential, free, and do not affect your security clearance.
- The DHS public facing Employee Resources page is full of resources and information to help you and your loved ones deal with stress, mental health, and many other topics.
- The Mental Health section of the Veteran Resource Center Website on DHS Connect includes additional resources.
- If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 right away.
DHS is committed to safely supporting the relocation of Afghan nationals who bravely helped support the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and other vulnerable Afghans, and we have mobilized all appropriate elements across the Department to that end.
Once again, I thank you for your service to our Department, the country, and our mission. And if you ever want to talk combat veteran to combat veteran, my door is always open.
Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security
With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.