LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan's new Veterans Affairs Agency director says the state needs to do a better job connecting its nearly 700,000 veterans to services.
Jeff Barnes was appointed to lead the agency within the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs last month. The agency will coordinate the state's veterans' services, which are housed now in 15 different state departments.
Barnes says the agency will begin with pilot projects in Wayne and Kent counties and survey services to see where gaps exist. He says he wants to eventually create a web portal to allow veterans to track their benefits claims throughout the often-lengthy process.
Barnes served as an armored cavalry officer for nearly 10 years in the U.S. Army and completed tours in Korea, the Balkans and Iraq.