Blue Water Navy

Blue Water Navy

The Blue Water Navy (BWN) Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 is a landmark piece of legislation, finally extending benefits to Vietnam Veterans in relation to Agent Orange exposure during service.

To accomplish aggressive milestones and transform the narrative surrounding their advocacy of BWN Veterans, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) partnered with DIS to provide insight, plan, execute and evaluate a comprehensive communications outreach campaign to raise national awareness and encourage Veterans to file BWN claims. Due to our collective outreach efforts, over 75,000 BWN claims have been submitted and more than $724 million has been paid in retroactive benefits since Jan. 1, 2020, when the law was implemented.

Our integrated campaign focused on earned and paid media, stakeholder engagement, and the distribution of outreach collateral materials. During the campaign, DIS created more than 50 unique materials, including a communications toolkit (digital and print), a Blue Water Navy 101 presentation, promotional posters, fact sheet, FAQs, talking points, a social media content calendar with more than 150 posts across key social media platforms, several press releases to announce important milestones related to the legislation, web content for a new landing page, senior leader talking points for various internal and external events and engagements, weekly social media and news coverage analysis, national radio and television Public Service Announcements (PSA), and facilitation of virtual Veteran focus groups which help guide messaging and communication strategy to the target population.

The BWN TV and radio PSAs have aired a total of 27,860 times, with 38,403,524 impressions and $2,594,635 in donated media value. DIS’s paid media efforts have led to over 30,000 landing page views, as well as over 300,000 video views of the TV PSA posted on YouTube. Across YouTube Video, Facebook Newsfeed and Google search ads, there were 5,635,417 total impressions. Due to the success of this campaign, DIS and VBA were awarded a MarCom Platinum Award in 2020.


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration, Office of Strategic Engagement