|September 23, 2011: Chairman Wittman Opening Statement: Accountability at Arlington National Cemetery|
Washington, DC – 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 Rob Wittman (VA-1) made the following remarks:
“Good morning. Ms. Condon, General McCoy and Mr. Hallinan, thank you for taking the time to be here today. I am especially pleased that you brought along Captain Nate Peterson who played such a critical role in the Accountability Task Force.
“Captain Peterson, I wish to thank you – along with the members of your team such as Sergeant John McDermott – for your efforts. Because of you, we now have an accurate count of gravesites and markers at Arlington which will ensure that future plans are based on real facts and data, not supposition. You should be proud of the service you provided to the Task Force, and most importantly, to your nation. You’ve accomplished your duty with remarkable precision and diligence, and have represented the Old Guard well. Great job!
“Arlington Cemetery is a special place for many reasons, but for me it’s special because it’s where generations of heroes have been laid to rest. It’s a place where we can go and pay appropriate tribute to heroes who dedicated their lives to others and answered our nation’s call to duty despite the sacrifices associated with doing so.
“It’s why I feel so passionately about accountability and oversight of Arlington, and why I was happy to read about the recent progress that’s been made on a number of issues. In particular, I was happy to learn that the Inspector General didn’t identify any “deficiencies” during the most recent inspection. And I’m happy to know that the Army has dedicated the manpower and resources to hopefully sustain this progress moving forward.
“That said, I noted a number of issues that continue to cause concern such as employee training, acquisition and contracting procedures and oversight, and long-term organizational plans and oversight regimes. I hope you will address these issues and I look forward to hearing your views on how they will be addressed moving forward. Again, thank you all for being here today.”
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the First District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee where he is the Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.