Burgum forms Task Force for Veterans Affairs to ensure governance, services are best positioned to support veterans

Friday, October 26, 2018 - 10:00am

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today signed an executive order creating a task force to assess the current system for supporting military veterans in North Dakota and comprehensively examine how the state’s current resources can be organized to serve veterans most effectively.

The Task Force for Veterans Affairs also will examine the current governance structure for the North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs (NDVA), which is overseen by the Administrative Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACOVA).

In addition to the NDVA and ACOVA, there are a variety of nonprofit, federal, state and local organizations and programs that provide services to veterans in North Dakota. The North Dakota National Guard provides support to veterans through ND Cares, which was established by Gov. Jack Dalrymple in 2015, as well as other programs. The North Dakota Veterans Home, first established in 1893, provides long-term and basic care to veterans and their spouses. North Dakota is home to more than 50,000 veterans along with their families.

“We are deeply grateful for our service members and military veterans and the sacrifices they and their families have made for our state and country,” Burgum said. “We greatly appreciate the work that has been done in North Dakota to serve veterans, and this task force is an opportunity to work with veterans to review our current system and ensure we are best positioned to support them.”

The ACOVA consists of 15 voting members appointed by the Governor and nominated by the AMVETS, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Vietnam Veterans of America, which are the five largest veterans service organizations in the state.

“We would like to thank the Governor for convening this task force to examine how we can best work together to support veterans in North Dakota,” ACOVA chairman Dean Overby said.

“We look forward to working with this task force to build on the work we have been doing to serve veterans in North Dakota,” said NDVA Commissioner Lonnie Wangen, who also serves as a member of the federal VA’s Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee.

Burgum has appointed North Dakota National Guard Brig. Gen. Robert Fode to chair the Task Force. Fode has served in the North Dakota National Guard for 40 years and is set to retire on Oct. 30. Fode most recently led the National Guard’s Land Component Command.  

“Ensuring that the state’s services are effectively organized and delivered is a crucial part of making sure we’re prepared to best serve all our veterans as we encounter new challenges in the 21st century,” Fode said.

The Task Force will consist of 11 to 15 members representing veterans and their families, officials from state government and other interested community stakeholders.

Individuals interested in serving on the Task Force should apply through the Boards section on www.governor.nd.gov by Nov. 16. Under “Navigation,” select “Application Form for Boards and Commissions,” and select “Task Force for Veterans Affairs” in the drop-down list in the application form.