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Postdeployment Cognitive Testing

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, as cochair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, one of my top priorities is to help our servicemembers with brain injuries. With posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury recognized as the signature injuries of the conflicts and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, you would think the Defense Department would have a good system to catch the injuries. They do not.

Despite our vote, a bipartisan vote in 2008 to have pre- and postdeployment screenings, postdeployment screenings have not been required. Five hundred thousand soldiers with a predeployment cognitive test were given that test before they went to the battle. Coming out, only 3,000 tests were done postdeployment to actually compare results. We have nothing to compare. This is a disgrace and a disservice to our troops.

Both sides have agreed that we want something done. It has not been done in violation of the law. The Pascrell-Platts-Andrews-Cole-Ortiz-Wilson-Coffman amendment passed in the House Defense authorization bill to address this, but it was not included in the final bill. That's what we're trying to do this year.

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