Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Vic Snyder (D-AR) have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to undertake an immediate review of allegations that have recently been reported in the press that wounded and injured soldiers are being sent into a combat theater with pre-existing medical conditions that could adversely impact their military readiness.

            In a letter to GAO, Skelton and Snyder wrote:

 “As members of the House Armed Services Committee, it is important that the committee understand whether these allegations are limited to a specific region, base or commander or whether this is a systematic problem within a specific Service or whether it is being experienced by other Services as well.

            “The concerns at Walter Reed have raised the attention and awareness of the challenges that wounded and injured service members face.  The committee has received a number of phone calls and letters from concerned service members and their families, including similar allegations that injured and wounded service members are being deployed into combat despite their injuries.  It would help the committee to understand whether members with profiles that limit their physical ability are actually placed into positions that recognize their physical limitations or whether, due to the demands of the conflict, are being required to work outside of their physical profiles and the extent to which this is happening.

            “The continued high operational tempo and the President’s recent decision to surge the force in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom is placing a heavy stress on the force.  However, we cannot let these demanding deployments drive the force to send unfit wounded and injured service members into combat.”

            A copy of the letter to GAO is attached.