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Letter to The Honorable John Pistole, Administrator, Transportation Security Administration

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), co-chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus, today sent a letter to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole urging him to take immediate steps to improve access to the Military Severely Injured Joint Services Operations Center Program to better serve wounded veterans. The program, established in 2005 in collaboration with the Department of Defense, is designed to ensure our nation's severely injured veterans are treated with dignity and respect during the airport security screening process and to facilitate a smooth and expeditious travel experience.

Senator Boxer wrote, "I am deeply concerned that the TSA's failure to provide appropriate contact information for the Military Severely Injured Joint Services Operations Center Program is preventing many of our severely injured veterans from accessing the care and services they need when traveling."

Boxer's letter details how the information provided on the TSA's website for the Military Severely Injured Joint Services Operations Center Program contains several flaws, including a toll-free telephone number that does not directly connect wounded veterans to the TSA for assistance. The TSA website also directs veterans to a third-party website that contains no information on how to access the program.

In her letter, Boxer urges Administrator Pistole to move quickly to correct these flaws and to work with the Defense Department and airlines to better publicize the program to ensure that more injured veterans will benefit from it.

The text of the Senator's letter follows:

June 18, 2012

The Honorable John Pistole
Administrator
Transportation Security Administration
601 South 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598

Dear Administrator Pistole:

As co-chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus, I am writing to express my concern that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is not providing our nation's severely injured service members and veterans with accurate information about a critical program that facilitates the airport security screening process.

As you know, the screening process at airport security checkpoints can often be significantly more complex for some severely injured service members and veterans. I am pleased that the TSA partnered with the Department of Defense to establish the Military Severely Injured Joint Services Operations Center Program, which works to ensure that these men and women are treated with dignity and respect during the screening process and have a smooth and expeditious travel experience. This program is an important resource for our severely injured veterans and their families.

However, it has come to my attention that the TSA's website does not include accurate, direct contact information for the Military Severely Injured Joint Services Operations Center Program. For example, the toll-free number listed on the site does not connect the caller directly with the program's Operations Center at the TSA. Instead, the caller is routed to the main line for Military One Source. In addition, a hyperlink on the site sends users to a non-government affiliated webpage that contains no information about the program.

I am deeply concerned that the TSA's failure to provide appropriate contact information for the Military Severely Injured Joint Services Operations Center Program is preventing many of our severely injured veterans from accessing the care and services they need when traveling.

As such, I urge the TSA to immediately work to update its website with accurate and direct contact information for the Military Severely Injured Joint Services Operations Center Program. I also encourage the TSA to work with the Department of Defense, airlines and others to ensure that this valuable program is publicized to the fullest extent possible.

Thank you for your attention to these important requests and I look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator


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