Third Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on Walter Reed

The Oversight Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs is currently holding a hearing, “Third Walter Reed Oversight Hearing: Keeping the Nation's Promise to Our Wounded Soldiers.” Representatives of the GAO will be testifying on a new GAO report stating that “Delayed decisions, confusing policies, and the perception that DOD and VA disability ratings result in inequitable outcomes have eroded the credibility of the system… Thus, it is imperative that DOD and VA take prompt steps to address fundamental system weaknesses.”

Yesterday the Democratic Congress continued to carry out its commitment to veterans by making permanent the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROS) Act to provide active duty military personnel with more leeway in applying for financial aid and repaying student loans. The bill was introduced by Rep. Joe Sestak (PA-07). See the Gavel’s previous coverage of Walter Reed >>

Watch the hearing live >>

Subcommittee Chairman John Tierney gives opening remarks:

Subcommittee Chairman Tierney:
“The purpose of todays hearing will be to ensure that these recommendations and the human faces and stories of our nation’s wounded soilders behind them aren’t ignored or forgotten, which unfortunately has too often happened in the past. And also to make sure that our government is moving swiftly to address all of the problems that were identified.”

Full Committee Chairman Henry Waxman gives opening remarks:

Chairman Waxman:
“Whistleblowers, investigators and struggling families have told the committee that soldiers with PTSD and PTI are being dishonorably discharged under the pretense of having preexisting personality disorders. We've heard of one soldier who was ordered back to Iraq despite a diagnosis of PTSD and TBI. And we've heard personal reports that one commander at the base recommended discharging mentally ill soldiers simply as a way to get rid of, and I quote, ‘dead wood.’”

John Pendleton and Daniel Bertoni of the GAO give opening testimony:

John Pendleton:
“The Army’s focused on its issues through its Medical Action Plan. The centerpiece of that plan is the new Warrior Transition Units. The Army formed these to blend active and reserve components into one unit and to improve overall care for its wounded warriors. While these units have been formed on paper, many still have significant staff shortfalls. As of mid-September just over half of the total required personnel were in place in these units. However many of those personnel that were in place had been borrowed, presumably temporarily, from other units… Filling all the slots may prove difficult — as I think every one knows, the Army is stretched thin due to continuing overseas commitments.”
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