WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2015 —
It is a Defense Department top priority to provide support to wounded, ill and injured service members, their families and caregivers with support for recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration into society, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for warrior care policy told a House panel today.
James Rodriguez outlined DoD’s latest wounded warrior program initiatives before members of a House Armed Services subcommittee. The director of each service’s wounded warrior program also testified on their progress.
“Today, our major combat operations are declining, but our national security challenges and responsibilities ensure all the needs of our wounded warriors are met,” Rodriguez said.
“They have the best available care and administrative management while being treated with dignity and respect from point of injury or illness to return to duty or transition from service,” he noted.
DoD Warrior Care Initiatives
DoD provides “concise policy oversight” so the services can deliver consistent, high-quality care and support for recovering service members, Rodriguez said.
Another DoD initiative includes visits to wounded warrior programs at various installations to ensure DoD policy compliance for recovery care, he added.
The department also established a quality-assurance program to standardize the services’ disability evaluation requirements, he said.
Offering more than medical care, Rodriguez said, DoD provides service members with opportunities to take part in adaptive sports and activities, professional skill-building programs, internships and employment preparation to help them transition back into civilian life.
Other DoD accomplishments include information technology systems that streamline case management. Caregiver support provides peer-to-peer forums. And an interagency care-coordination committee stretches across DoD and other agencies, he noted.
“Even as our nation reduces combat operations, our wounded, ill and injured service members will continue to exist and we must ensure our commitment to these individuals is not compromised,” Rodrigues told the panel.
“The American public and our leaders require it, and our service members and their families deserve the best services and support we can provide,” he said.
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)