Chairman Wilson Opening Statement: Accountability at Arlington National Cemetery
The House Armed Services Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and Military Personnel Subcommittee held a joint hearing today on “Update on Arlington Cemetery Reforms,” following the Report to Congress released earlier in the week. Chairman Joe Wilson (R-SC) made the following remarks:
“Today, the Military Personnel Subcommittee and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee are jointly hosting a hearing on the recent report to Congress by the Secretary of the Army, who has responsibility for the management of Arlington National Cemetery. That report details the progress that has been made since June 2010 to address the numerous, serious shortcomings found in the previous oversight and administration of the Cemetery.
“The Secretary’s report is based on the findings of an inspection conducted by the Department of the Army Inspector General. Overall, there is clear evidence that substantial improvements have taken place at Arlington. That progress reflects not only the personal commitment of Secretary John McHugh, but also the professionalism and commitment of Mrs. Katherine Condon, the Executive Director of the Army National Cemeteries Program, and Mr. Patrick Hallinan, the Superintendent of Arlington Cemetery.
“While great strides have been made, much still remains to be done. My focus in this hearing will be on where we go from here. I am especially concerned about the Inspector General findings that the wait time for burials is substantially longer than previously reported. We need to find an appropriate way soon to reduce that waiting time.
“Before I introduce our witnesses, let me recognize, in turn, Representatives Susan Davis, the Ranking Member of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, Rob Wittman, Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and Jim Cooper, the Ranking Member of the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee for any opening remarks that they might wish to make.
“Today we will hear first from Major General William McCoy, Deputy Inspector General, U. S. Army, to be followed by Ms. Kathryn Condon, Executive Director of the Army’s National Cemeteries Program. Ms. Condon is accompanied by Mr. Patrick Hallinan, Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery.
“Before I recognize our first witness, I ask unanimous consent that a statement from the American Legion be entered into the record.”
“I also welcome Representative Jon Runyan, a member of this committee, who is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. His subcommittee also has oversight of Arlington National Cemetery.”