Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the Recent GAO Investigation on Service Member Psychiatric Condition Discharges
U.S. Senator Barack Obama today released the following statement on the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) investigation that found the Department of Defense (DOD) has not adhered to any clear set of standards when discharging troops for psychiatric conditions. Senator Obama requested this investigation following reports that the DOD was labeling service members as having "preexisting" personality disorders instead of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) incurred in combat. This practice allows the DOD to discharge troops instead of treating them.
"This report reveals that the DOD is not doing everything it should be to take care of troops with psychological injuries. I support the two GAO recommendations in the report - the need for consistent personality disorder discharges from all military branches and for strong oversight of compliance. I will continue working toward reforming the over-extended DOD-VA healthcare and disability systems. So far, 1.8 million service members have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and we must help those that transition from the military to civilian life. We must also honor our commitment to provide them with the services they need."