Chairman Moran, Ranking Member
Filner, and other distinguished members of the
subcommittee, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is pleased to have this
opportunity to provide testimony on “lessons learned” from the Gulf War and
their impact on our current force health protection policy. I wish I could
report to you that we believe the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs
have actually learned the key lessons from the Gulf War. In fact, they have not.
Our testimony today will catalogue a lengthy list of continuing problem areas.
I’ll start with the issue of basic force protection.
Environmental Threat Detection and Defense
Prior to the
Gulf War, administration officials assured the public and the troops that
American forces would employ the best nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC)
defense technology in the world. Only years after the war did the public learn
that the standard American gas mask in use at the time—the M17A1/A2-series
mask—had failure rates of 26-44%.
Moreover, the Marine Corps logistics system actually ran out of
replacement gas mask filters only three days into Desert Storm.
The harsh desert environment wreaked havoc on the masks, suits, and gloves used
by the troops. Had Iraqi forces used large quantities of chemical or biological
agents on the battlefield, American and Coalition forces would not have been
able to handle the resulting casualties, and the war’s outcome could have been
far different. Even without massive NBC agent use by Iraq, questions about the
health implications of those sub-lethal exposures linger today.
In the years immediately after the war, when reports of Gulf War-related
illnesses began to mount, veterans and members of Congress began to question
DoD’s assertions that no chemical agents had been detected during the war. As
documentary evidence grew that multiple chemical agent detections had indeed
occurred, Pentagon officials shifted their stance: all NBC alarms
had been false, we were told. That canard was refuted by the Pentagon’s own
internal assessment (classified for years) that the Czechoslovak chemical units’
agent detection claims were valid, though Defense Department officials continued
to maintain that all of the American alarms had been false. All of
this raises an obvious question: if the NBC detection equipment used by American
forces during the war was so unreliable, why did the Pentagon continue to buy
exactly the same kinds of equipment for years after the Gulf War?
To VVA’s knowledge,
neither Armed Services committee has addressed this issue in detail, which has
direct relevance for this subcommittee as well. For if we are continuing to buy
defective or inadequate NBC detection equipment for our forces, how can we be
sure our troops are properly protected from the full-range of NBC threats?
Conversely, if the equipment has worked as advertised, then DoD’s
claims of “all alarms false” is itself untrue. Pentagon officials cannot have it
both ways. And if DoD has lied about the capabilities of the NBC defense
equipment it has purchased, how can we believe DoD’s claims that low-level
chemical exposures will not have long-term adverse health effects?
The General Accounting Office (GAO) addressed the issue of low-level chemical
exposures in a September 1998 report, in which DoD officials admitted that their
NBC detection doctrine
does not address low-level exposures on the
battlefield because there is no (1)
validated threat, (2) definition of
low-level exposures, (3) or consensus on the
effects of such exposures. Moreover, if low-level
exposures were to be addressed,
DoD officials said that the cost implications
could be significant.
In other words, it would be
too expensive to protect American troops from such exposures, even
though, as GAO pointed out,
Past research by DoD and others indicates that
single and repeated low-level
exposures to some chemical warfare agents can
result in adverse psychological,
behavioral, and performance
effects that may have military
1990’s, GAO repeatedly questioned the Pentagon’s progress in addressing these
and other major NBC equipment and training problems. While a November 2000 GAO
report on individual unit NBC readiness found considerable improvement in the
services’ ability to properly equip forces for operating in an NBC environment,
training and readiness reporting deficiencies remain. A more recent GAO report
found that “In general, DoD has not successfully adapted its conventional
medical planning to chemical/biological warfare.”
VVA has seen no
evidence that the Pentagon is taking the potential health risks of low-level NBC
exposures seriously, despite mounting scientific evidence that such exposures do
indeed pose risks, as the 2000 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report Gulf War
and Health, Volume One has suggested. Congress should carefully evaluate
DoD’s current NBC detection technology to determine if previous equipment
acquisitions were made under false pretenses or whether DoD officials have
engaged in a public relations disinformation campaign to discredit valid wartime
chemical detections as a means of deligitimizing Gulf War illnesses. We believe
any serious investigation will quite likely find the latter explanation to be
the true one.
If the Defense
Department’s approach to NBC threat detection has been negligent, its approach
to biomedical defense has been equally troubling.
preemptive medical response to the Iraqi chemical warfare threat, in the fall of
1990 the Defense Department obtained an investigational new drug (IND) exemption
from the Food and Drug Administration to use a drug, pyrodostigmine bromide (PB),
as a chemical warfare prophylactic. Ostensibly, PB was intended to protect the
troops from the effects of nerve gas exposure. During Desert Storm, at least
250,000 Army troops swallowed one or more of the little white pills. Taking PB
was not optional; troops who refused faced punishment under the Uniform Code of
After years of
denying there was a problem with PB, Bernard Rostker (the Pentagon’s point man
on Gulf War illnesses) told the Senate Veterans Affairs committee in 1998 that
PB should never have been given to U.S. soldiers. Rostker admitted that DoD’s
“threat assessment” had been wrong, that Iraq had probably not in fact
weaponzied the nerve agent soman, the effects of which PB was thought to be
capable of countering. Given its potential effects on the brain’s
neurotransmission process, PB has long been suspected as a cause of the
neurological problems reported by so many Gulf War veterans. Amazingly, PB is
still in the Pentagon’s NBC medical formulary, and Department officials have
said they may still use PB in future conflicts, if the “threat assessment” so
In a similar
vein, the Pentagon’s infatuation with vaccine-based biological defense has
already proved to be a costly military and public health failure.
Prior to Desert
Storm the Pentagon sought to employ a 20-year old anthrax vaccine as a
biological warfare prophylactic. Even though this vaccine had never been
approved by the FDA for such a use, the Pentagon managed to secure FDA
acquiescence and proceeded to inoculate an estimated 150,000 troops with one or
more doses of the vaccine. Because use of the vaccine was classified at the
time, medical record keeping in this area was compromised, and the true effects
of the vaccine on the wartime recipients remains unknown.
after the end of the war, the Pentagon resumed the inoculations under the rubric
of the force-wide Anthrax Vaccine Inoculation Program (AVIP). Shortly after the
AVIP began, reports of severe system adverse reactions to the vaccine began to
emerge in the press. Over the next three years, a number of key facts about the
vaccine would emerge, data that would once again highlight the Pentagon’s wanton
disregard for both the truth and the health of servicemembers. Consider these
- At the beginning of the AVIP,
DoD officials claimed the systemic adverse reaction rate for the vaccine was a
mere .2%. During its investigation of the AVIP, GAO found data suggesting
systemic adverse reaction rates in the range of 5-14%, dozens of times higher
than Pentagon had claimed.
- A calendar year 2000 GAO
survey of National Guard and Reserve forces found systemic adverse reaction
rates being reported by almost one quarter of respondents.
- Only last week, the Army
Times reported on the preliminary results of a Navy study that showed
evidence of an increased incidence of birth defects in children born to
mothers who had received the anthrax vaccine, compared to a control group of
mothers who had not.
- The FDA has yet to certify
that Bioport Corporation, the vaccine’s manufacturer, has successfully
corrected major problems discovered at the production plant three years ago.
Given the AVIP’s abysmal track
record, all of us should be deeply concerned about the Joint Vaccine Acquisition
Program (JVAP), the $322 million cost-plus biowarfare vaccine program initiated
in 1998 by the Pentagon’s Joint Program Office for Biological Defense.
The JVAP calls for
the Dynport Corporation to develop at least three, and possibly as many 12,
additional biological warfare vaccines over the next decade. What happens when
you give a human being a dozen or more BW vaccines? Nobody knows. Not DoD, NIH,
CDC, the World Health Organization or any other medical or scientific body.
vaccines actually work against a real threat? Again, nobody knows; no challenge
or efficacy studies have been conducted in animals, so far as VVA is aware. This
means that the JVAP is a giant biowarfare defense gamble; it assumes that our
enemies will field weapons that our vaccines will defeat. As with so many other
things, the Gulf War experience is instructive here.
Prior to the
Gulf War, American intelligence agencies believed that Iraq had weaponized both
anthrax and botulinum toxoid. Post-war United Nations inspections verified the
estimate. Only in 1995 did the world learn that Iraq also had weaponized
aflatoxin, an obscure but potentially deadly plant fungus. Had Saddam’s late
son-in-law Hussein Kamal not defected to Jordan and revealed it, Iraq’s
aflatoxin program would have remained hidden from the international
community…despite the most intrusive arms control inspection effort in history.
Pentagon claims that the AVIP and JVAP are based on “threat assessments,” the
reality is that American intelligence agencies will almost never be able to
provide a truly accurate picture of a potential opponent’s BW capabilities.
Thus, our NBC biomedical force protection approach should be based on an honest
approach to the uncertainties in this arena. We would offer the following
prescriptions for change.
Defense Department must field chemical-biological detection systems and
protective masks that work. The Pentagon has for years failed to procure
workable, reliable, real-time BW detection equipment, functional protective
masks, and reliable chemical-biological protective suits. Had Saddam’s forces
used aflatoxin during the Gulf War, the attack would have gone undetected until
the onset of symptoms months, or perhaps years, later. Providing proper
protection up front is key to helping preclude death or debilitating injury,
both at the time and for the life of the veteran.
Pentagon should abandon its self-defeating reliance on vaccine-based defense.
Given the dozens of microorganisms and toxins available to rogue states, it is
scientifically and fiscally impossible for the United States government to
engineer vaccines against all such threats. Even if money were no impediment,
there is no evidence the human body could successfully absorb the number of
biowarfare vaccines Pentagon bureaucrats plan on foisting on the troops.
Military planners should emphasize rapid detection, decontamination, and
post-exposure medical evaluation and treatment in the event of a confirmed
Congress must end the FDA’s double standard approach to civilian and military
medicine, which at present represents a violation of basic scientific standards.
Lawmakers must ensure that the FDA applies the same testing, monitoring, and
enforcement standards for drugs and biologics used by the military that it
applies to the civilian market. Anything less reduces America’s military
volunteers to the status of involuntary guinea pigs.
Force Health Protection
One of the principal
impediments to determining the roots of Gulf War illnesses has been the lack of
reliable data from the wartime period: data on the precise numbers and types of
vaccines and drugs given to the troops; data on the number, duration, and
concentration of various chemical exposures; data on the kinds of medical tests
and examinations performed on troops before, during, and after the conflict. For
VVA, this is a core issue and a long-time complaint about the DoD-VA approach to
veteran health care. Neither agency is truly committed to creating what we call
a “cradle-to-grave” military medical history. Without such an instrument,
determining how a veteran became ill becomes next to impossible, as does filing
a claim for service-connected disability compensation.
The IOM stated
so explicitly in its 2000 report Protecting Those Who Serve: Strategies to
Protect the Health of Deployed U.S. Forces. In reviewing the recommendations
of the multitude of commissions and panels that had previously assessed DoD
force health protection efforts during the 1990’s, the IOM noted that
Many of the recommendations are restatements of
recommendations that have
been made before, recommendations that have not been implemented. Further
delay could jeopardize the accomplishment of future missions. The committee
recognizes the critical importance of integrated health risk assessment, improved
medical surveillance, accurate troop location information, and exposure
monitoring to force health protection. Failure to move briskly on these fronts will
further erode the traditional trust between the service member and the leadership.
In VVA’s view, absolutely
nothing has changed since the IOM issued this report more than a year ago.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this point is to peruse the medical
examination forms currently in use by the Pentagon.
The pre- and
post-deployment health assessment forms used by the Pentagon’s Deployment Health
Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center contain no questions about the
specific environmental hazards the servicemember may have encountered in
theater. Moreover, even though the AVIP has been the most highly publicized DoD
vaccination program in recent history, there is no space on this form
specific to the anthrax vaccine, despite the fact that the anthrax
vaccine is considered a mandatory inoculation for those heading to
designated “high threat” areas such as the Persian Gulf and Korea.
pre- or post-deployment health assessment forms contain detailed questions about
other shots received or pills taken by the service member while in theater. No
space on either form is dedicated to mandatory lab tests to detect evidence of
infection from diseases endemic to the theater(s) where the service member was
deployed. Indeed, the DoD medical form used during examinations of service
dogs is more comprehensive in tracking vaccinations than the one used to track
shots given to the troops.
Section 765 of
the 1998 National Defense Authorization Act (PL 105-85) requires the Defense
Department to conduct both pre-and post-deployment health examinations (to
include mental health screenings and the drawing of blood samples) to accurately
record the medical condition of members before their deployment and any changes
in their medical condition during the course of their deployment. VVA has seen
no evidence whatsoever that any of these conditions are being met. On the basis
of the IOM’s report and DoD’s failure to automatically collect and record
environmental exposure and other data and record it in the service member’s
medical record, VVA would argue that DoD is in material breach of the law. As
several member of the full House Veterans Affairs committee are also members of
the Armed Services committee, VVA would respectfully suggest that those members
call for immediate hearings to investigate DoD’s failure to comply with the law
and its potential long-term implications for American veterans.
addition, any such investigation should examine why it is that we still do not
have a single, easily transferable military medical record for servicemembers
that moves seamlessly from the DoD health system to the VA once the
servicemember leaves the force. Our understanding is that the DoD-VA interagency
group responsible for managing this effort has yet to produce a working system,
despite millions of dollars and years of development effort. Our view is that
without stringent accountability mechanisms—in the form of fixed project
milestones and severe financial penalties for failure to deliver a working
product—no progress will be possible in this area. Congress should set these
milestones and accountability mechanisms in place, then follow up to ensure the
program achieves its goal of a single, seamless military medical record for
Gulf War Medical Research and
Central to the
pursuit of scientific truth is the assumption that bureaucratic political
influences will not be allowed to shape—or quash—scientific inquiry. For years,
Gulf War veterans and their supporters have had ample reason to believe that in
the quest for the truth about Gulf War illnesses, bureaucratic protectionism and
careerism—not scientific objectivity—has been the driving force behind the
Pentagon’s Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses (OSAGWI), now
known as the Directorate for Deployment Health Services.
On August 28,
2000, Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, OSAGWI’s “Medical Outreach and Issues”
coordinator, dispatched a blistering letter to Rear Admiral Frederic G. Sandford,
USN (ret.), Executive Director of the Association of Military Surgeons of the
United States. Kilpatrick expressed his “disappointment in the peer review
process and editorial oversight of Military Medicine,”
the armed forces premiere medical journal published by Sanford. An article
written by Desert Storm veteran Dr. Andras Koréyni-Both had been published in
the May 2000 edition of the magazine. Koréyni-Both’s central thesis—that the
fine-grained sand of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait might have precipitated the
veteran’s illnesses by compromising their immune systems—had sent Kilpatrick
alleged that Koréyni-Both’s “Al Eskan Disease” was based on “the author’s
repeated presentation of this theory rather than on medical data gathered on
Gulf War veterans.” In reality, Koréyni-Both cited autopsy results from 86
Desert Storm veterans presented in a National Institutes of Health report in
1994. The autopsies—performed at the Pentagon’s Armed Forces Institute of
Pathology—showed considerable sand contamination in the lungs of the deceased
In his letter
to Rear Admiral Sanford, Kilpatrick also accused Koréyni-Both of using material
“written by individuals convinced there is an efficient, effective government
cover-up about ‘dirty tricks’ played on military members by sinister leadership
in the Pentagon or ‘the government.” Kilpatrick alleged that “The authors appear
to believe ‘If I say this often enough, it becomes truth.” That statement far
more accurately describes the Pentagon’s “There is no Gulf War illness” mantra.
For more than
five years after the Gulf War ceasefire, Pentagon officials vehemently denied
that American troops were exposed to chemical agents during or after Desert
Storm…only to reverse themselves after declassified intelligence reports
revealed American troops had inadvertently destroyed Iraqi chemical weapons at
Khamisiyah, Iraq in March 1991. I note for the record that many of these
documents were made public only as a result of lengthy and expensive FOIA
litigation by veteran’s advocates or intense media scrutiny of the Pentagon’s
response to the needs of sick Desert Storm veterans.
During the war,
then-Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney and then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin
Powell repeatedly assured the Congress, the public, and the troops that
specialized biowarfare medications given to protect American troops were “safe
and effective.” All of these claims were ultimately proven false. The Pentagon’s
credibility has been destroyed not by alleged conspiracy theorists, but by the
Indeed, in his
screed to Rear Admiral Sanford, Kilpatrick continued to repeat the falsehood
that with regards to the Khamisiyah incident, “no reports of symptoms” were
noted among American troops. In reality, American combat engineers had no idea
they were destroying chemical weapons at the time; medical personnel were not
poised to monitor the troops for any level of chemical exposure.
Moreover, as the 2000 Institute of Medicine Gulf War and Health, Volume One
report makes clear, there is a paucity of animal or other research on the
effects of sustained low-level nerve agent exposure…and what data does exist
supports the idea that even small exposures to these substances
can be harmful. For Kilpatrick, this alleged lack of data represents a lack of
evidence of adverse health effects for veterans…a scientifically bankrupt
position at best.
medical officer ended his diatribe by claiming Koréyni-Both’s work was “more
appropriate for an X-Files script, not a medical journal.” Kilpatrick’s
derisive, paranoid tone speaks volumes about the mindset of Pentagon
policymakers. Kilpatrick’s attack on Koréyni-Both’s research was clearly
calculated to silence dissent within the Pentagon’s medical establishment.
continue to serve in the Gulf on a daily
basis. Any medical data suggesting that long-term exposure to the tiny Arabian
sand particles may be damaging to the immune system has clear implications for
the health of active duty, Guard, and Reserve personnel deployed to the
region…as well as for the nearly 200,000 Gulf War veterans who have sought
compensation for service-connected ailments. Dismissing peer reviewed research
that suggests further investigation is needed invites the charge of dereliction
VVA takes no
position—pro or con—regarding Dr. Koreyni-Both’s hypothesis. I have spent
considerable time discussing this episode to help illustrate a key fact: efforts
by Pentagon or VA officials to deny non-federal researchers the opportunity to
have their theories on Gulf War illnesses put to the test through an open,
unbiased peer-review process are real, not imaginary.
the use of the Freedom of Information Act, we have developed evidence that
presents the definite appearance that senior OSAGWI officials were actively
blocking the provision of information to VA clinicians regarding Project
Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD), the 1960’s era Pentagon chemical and
biological warfare testing program that involved the use of live chemical and
biological warfare agents on American military personnel. My colleague from the
National Gulf War Resource Center, Steve Robinson, can provide this committee
with numerous, eyewitness examples of the efforts of senior OSAGWI officials to
delay, deflect, or otherwise discredit efforts to link environmental exposures
to Gulf War illnesses. Sergeant First Class (SFC) Robinson worked in OSAGWI for
three years, and VVA would strongly suggest that the full House Veterans Affairs
committee avail itself of SFC Robinson’s experience and insight into the
problems surrounding OSAGWI’s handling of the Pentagon’s Gulf War illness
Because DoD and
VA bureaucrats have politicized the medical research arena and monopolized
control over research funding decisions, it is completely impossible for most
non-federal researchers with unconventional or controversial theories about the
origins of Gulf War illnesses to receive federal funding. Moreover, both DoD and
VA have an inherent conflict of interest when it comes to investigating these
kinds of issues.
following. When the Bridgestone/Firestone “exploding tire” scandal erupted, the
Congress did not tell the manufacturer, “We trust you: go investigate yourself,
make recommendations for change, then implement those changes…you have our
blessing!” Congress held hearings and monitored the National Highway
Transportation Safety Administration’s investigation of Bridgestone/Firestone.
The same model applies to airline crashes. Congress does not rely on the
aircraft manufacturers crash report; it listens to the National Transportation
Safety Board’s investigators, who are independent of both the manufacturer and
the aviation industry as a whole. Congress set up this system to ensure that no
conflict of interest would compromise safety investigations, a wise and sensible
approach to transportation safety policy.
Yet for the
last decade, the Congress has allowed the agency that most likely created the
Gulf War illness problem (DoD), and the agency charged with paying for the
problem (i.e., the VA, through health care and disability payments to sick
veterans), to both investigate Gulf War illnesses and their own role in
responding to sick Desert Storm veterans. This is an obvious conflict of
interest, one that has prolonged the suffering of the veterans, destroyed their
trust in the federal government, and resulted in the waste of at least $150
million over the past five years through OSAGWI, as the Defense Department has
“investigated” its own response to Gulf War illnesses. It is also how the
Pentagon and the Air Force have managed to squander over $180 million on Agent
Orange-related Ranch Hand research that has produced less than half-a-dozen
peer-reviewed scientific papers over the last 15 years.
To end this
conflict of interest and restore integrity to the process of investigating and
treating veteran’s medical conditions, last year VVA called for the creation of
a National Institute of Veterans Health (NIVH) within NIH. This notional NIVH
would not only eliminate the conflict of interest problem outlined above, it
would provide a vehicle for establishing a medical research corporate culture
focused on veteran health care, in contrast to the current VA
medical corporate culture of “health care that happens to be for veterans.”
that the VA has established a reputation for providing advanced care for blinded
veterans or those with severe ambulatory impairments. However,
the VA has never truly developed a corporate culture focused on the diagnosis
and treatment of the full range of environmental and occupational hazards that
are unique to military service. This is especially true of the VA’s
Research and Development Office, where the overwhelming majority of VA-funded
research programs are geared towards medical problems found in the general
population, not those specific to the veteran patient population or those with
a new NIVH with veteran advocates serving on the peer-review panels that make
research funding decisions, the Congress would be creating a research institute
that would be truly focused on the unique medical needs of veterans. Locating
the NIVH within NIH would ensure that the full medical resources of the federal
government and private sector could be marshaled in a rational, veteran-friendly
environment, free of the politicizing and conflict-ridden influences that have
for more than 20 years precluded effective research into the unique
environmental and occupational hazards that have impacted the health of American
proposed NIVH must be supplemented by the creation of a Congressionally directed
mandatory declassification review panel, whose purpose would be to screen (on
both a historical and an ongoing basis) and declassify any
operational or intelligence records for evidence of data that would have an
impact on the health and welfare of American veterans. The
need for such an entity—completely independent from the Pentagon and the U.S.
intelligence community—is obvious.
thousands of pages of Gulf War-related records remain classified. In January
1998, the CIA admitted that its own internal review had identified over 1
million classified documents with potential relevance to Gulf War
illnesses. Virtually no documents associated with the 1960’s era SHAD program
have been declassified, and DoD has thus far rebuffed VVA’s FOIA requests that
the documents be made public. Through the experience of the Kennedy
Assassination Review Commission and the Nazi War Crimes Declassification Review
panel, we have learned that such specialized declassification panels work well.
If we are to be certain that all data that may effect the health
of American veterans is to be available for the veterans and their physicians,
the Congress must create such a standing declassification review panel
immediately. Such a move would also help to restore trust and confidence among
veterans in the federal government and its response to veteran’s health issues.
that the VA should remain in the veteran health care business, but only if there
is a dramatic change in the corporate culture of the Veterans Health
tenure as Undersecretary for Health, Dr. Thomas Garthwaite put forward a
proposal known as the Veterans Health Initiative (VHI). The purpose of the VHI
was to put veteran patient care at the core the VHA’s corporate culture. As Dr.
Garthwaite testified before this subcommittee last April,
The Veterans Health Initiative was established in
September 1999 to recognize the
connection between certain health effects and military service, prepare health care
providers to better serve veteran patients, and to provide a data base for further study…
The components of the initiative will be a provider education program leading to
certification in veterans’ health; a comprehensive military history that will be coded in
a registry and be available for education, outcomes analysis, and research; a database for
any veteran to register his military history and to automatically receive updated and
relevant information on issues of concern to him/her (only as requested); and a Web site
where any veteran or health care provider can access the latest scientific evidence on the
health effects of military service.
VVA’s experience has been that
there is considerable resistance to this idea within VHA, particularly within
the Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards.
We note that to
date, comprehensive clinical practice guidelines and continuing medical
education courses in dealing with Gulf War illnesses have yet to be distributed
throughout the VA medical system. Moreover, as the attached September 2000 email
shows, senior officials in Public Health and Environmental Hazards resisted
creating a registry for Vietnam era SHAD veterans. As many members of this
committee may recall, there was tremendous resistance by VHA to the idea of
creating a Gulf War registry in the early 1990’s; it took an act of Congress to
get that effort off the ground. Given this institutional resistance to
identifying environmental hazards and
their impact on the health of veterans from multiple eras, how can we trust
these same individuals to implement Dr. Garthwaite’s well-conceived vision for
veterans’ health care?
communicated these concerns to Secretary Principi, urging him to recognize that
changing the existing VHA corporate culture immediately is imperative, and we
look forward to working with him towards that end. VVA believes that this
subcommittee, and the full committee as a whole, can play a key role in this
process by concurrently encouraging Secretary Principi to take whatever measures
are necessary to accomplish this objective.
this concludes my written statement. On behalf of our national president, Tom
Corey, please accept my thanks for allowing VVA the opportunity to share our
views on this very important topic.
Marine Corps NBC Defense in Southwest Asia, Marine
Corps Research Center, Research Paper # 92-0009, July 1991, p. 11. Obtained by
the author via the Freedom of Information act in 1995.
 Message from the commanding general, First Fleet Services
Support Group to CDRAMCCOM, Critical Deficiency, Gas Mask Components, 201458Z
January 1991. Obtained by the author via the Freedom of Information act in 1995.
 Chemical Weapons: DoD Does Not Have a Strategy to
Address Low-Level Exposures. GAO/NSIAD-98-228. September 1998, p. 5.
 Ibid., p. 4.
 Chemical and Biological Defense: Units Better Equipped,
But Training and Readiness Reporting Problems Remain. GAO-01-27, October
 Chemical and Biological Defense: DoD Needs to Clarify
Expectations for Medical Readiness. GAO-02-38, October 2001, p. 2.
 Medical Readiness: Safety and Efficacy of the Anthrax
Vaccine. Testimony before the Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans
Affairs, and International Relations, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House
of Representatives. GAO/T-NSIAD-99-148, April 29, 1999, p. 4.
 Anthrax Vaccine: Changes to the Manufacturing Process.
Testimony before the Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and
International Relations, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of
Representatives. GAO-02-181T, October 23, 2001, p. 6.
“CDC warns civilians
anthrax vaccine may be linked to birth defects,” Army Times, January 21,
2002, p. 22.
 Protecting Those Who Serve: Strategies to Protect the
Health of Deployed U.S. Forces. National Academy Press (Washington: 2000),
Statement of Thomas L. Garthwaite, MD, Under Secretary for Health, Department of Veterans
Affairs, Before the Subcommittee on Health, Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, U.
S. House of Representatives, April 3, 2001
VETERANS OF AMERICA
January 24, 2002
Veterans of America (VVA) is a national non-profit veterans membership
organization registered as a 501(c)(19) with the Internal Revenue Service. VVA
is also appropriately registered with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk
of the House of Representatives in compliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act
of 1995. V
is not currently in receipt of any federal grant or contract, other than the
routine allocation of office space and associated resources in VA Regional
Offices for outreach and direct services through its Veterans Benefits Program
(Service Representatives). This is also true of the previous two fiscal years.
Director of Government Relations
Vietnam Veterans of America
(301) 585-4000, extension 127
Patrick G. Eddington
Associate Director, Government Relations
Patrick G. Eddington was an award-winning military analyst
at the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation Center for almost nine years.
He received numerous accolades for his analytical work, including letters of
commendation from the Joint Special Operations Command, the Joint Warfare
Analysis Center and the CIA's Office of Military Affairs.
During his tenure at CIA, Eddington worked a wide range of
intelligence issues. His analytical assignments included monitoring the break-up
of the former Soviet Union; providing military assessments to policy makers on
Iraqi and Iranian conventional forces; and coordinating the CIA's military
targeting support to NATO during Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia in 1995.
Eddington received his undergraduate degree in
International Affairs from Southwest Missouri State University in 1985 and
master's degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University in 1992.
Eddington spent eleven years in the U.S. Army Reserve and the National Guard in
both enlisted and commissioned service.
Currently, Eddington serves as Associate Director of
Government Relations for Vietnam Veterans of America. His opinion pieces have
appeared in a number of publications, including the Washington Post,
Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Fort Worth Star-Telegram,
and the Army Times, among others. Eddington is a frequent commentator on
national security issues for the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, SKYNews, CNN, and
other domestic and international television networks. His first book, Gassed
in the Gulf, is a detailed examination of the Gulf War Syndrome controversy
and its impact on Desert Storm veterans. Eddington is a member of the Authors
Guild and Amnesty International. He and his wife Robin live in Alexandria,
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