House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement following today's meeting with Army leaders at Joint Base Lewis-McChord:
"I would like to thank the members of the Army's senior leadership who arranged today's meeting to discuss incidents that have occurred involving soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Their willingness to address urgent concerns that are affecting the well-being of our troops, their safety abroad and ability to successfully carry out their missions is an important step forward in supporting our men and women who serve. It is also critical to preventing future episodes that place the lives of our soldiers and civilians in jeopardy.
"I and other members of the delegation pressed General Austin to understand what policies are currently in place or need to be put in place to make sure every soldier who is living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or suffering from Traumatic Brain Injuries gets the treatment he or she needs. These are difficult jobs with high stress levels, and the issues we see here are ones we see at every large base in our country. Our focus is on making sure there is a comprehensive plan to detect these injuries and disorders and do more to ensure that every soldier who needs treatment gets it. I will continue to closely monitor this issue to make sure all our military personnel receive the care they deserve.
"I also want to reiterate that the killing of 17 innocent civilians in Afghanistan resulted from the actions of one individual and is not a reflection of the character of our Armed Forces nor does it reflect upon the leadership at JBLM. I have full confidence that the leadership of this base and our Armed Forces will continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of our troops while continuing to meet our national security objectives.
"I look forward to discussing next steps and to working with the Army to implement the changes and policies discussed today in the most timely and effective manner."