Senate Appropriations Committee expands Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

Tester pushes ‘incredibly successful’ initiative for Montana’s veterans

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The influential Senate Appropriations Committee has agreed to expand the National Guard’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon to all 50 states—an effort Senator Jon Tester has pushed for the past two years.  The Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program prepares soldiers and their families for deployment and for coming home.

Tester is one of only three U.S. senators who serve on both the Appropriations and Veterans’ Affairs Committees.  He has long supported expanding the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program because of its success in Montana. 

Today the Appropriations Committee unanimously approved legislation to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The measure also includes funding to expand the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program.

“Today’s vote means that all National Guard families will get better counseling services before, during and after a loved one leaves to serve in our military—just like they do in Montana,” Tester said.  “This will also benefit Montana Guardsmen and women by providing counseling and financial planning to help families at home when their loved ones put their lives on hold to serve our country.”

Earlier this year, Tester invited Montana National Guard General Brad Livingston to testify before the Veterans’ Affairs Committee about Montana’s version of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program.

The measure is expected to be considered by the full Senate next week.


The Montana National Guard’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon initiative is split up into three phases:

  • BEFORE deployment: Before deploying, soldiers and their families take part in a seven-hour “Pre-deployment Academy” where they attend workshops to learn about what to expect and the resources and benefits available to them.
  • DURING deployment:  Two or three months before a unit returns home, soldiers’ families undergo a four-hour seminar so they can learn about expectations such as post-traumatic stress disorder, marriage issues, counseling options and benefits.
  • AFTER deployment:  30 and 60 days after soldiers return home, they undergo intensive counseling and workshops with each other and with their families to deal with any problems, such as PTSD, alcohol and drug abuse, etc.  They are also familiarized with benefits and services available to them as veterans.

More information about Beyond the Yellow Ribbon in Montana is online HERE.