Thousands of servicemembers are expected to separate from service in the coming months and years as the United States leaves Afghanistan, and one of the leading military officials says there needs to be more conversations about how veterans are treated when they come home. Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told an audience at Kansas State University that there needs to be a discussion of how to help soldiers transition back to civilian society, The Associated Press reports.

With about 750 soldiers in attendance, Dempsey spoke about the challenges many soldiers face after they leave the service. Those obstacles can be even larger if they feel the country has not recognized their service. Though there have certainly been strides in the last few decades, he says there should be an effort to help vets return to school or get jobs once they return.

"We ought to have that conversation," Dempsey told the crowd, according to the AP. "I just don't want to wake up one day and decide that I should have had a conversation with America before it occurs."

The need to address veterans' issues, such as employment and education, is especially high. Officials estimate that approximately 300,000 soldiers will separate from service each year for the next four years.