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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the commonsense amendment I am offering for Ms. Buerkle and me to help State National Guard units across the country better perform their missions. This amendment requires the National Guard to complete a capability assessment of the medical equipment its domestic Humvee ambulances should be required to carry in Federal and State missions.

Right now, these ambulances have no requirement to carry cardiac monitoring and resuscitation equipment, limiting their capability to adequately treat a wide range of injuries in emergency situations. MRAP ambulances, used by the Army and National Guard in overseas contingency operations, do, however, carry cardiac monitoring and resuscitation equipment. This capability assessment would determine whether or not Guard Humvee ambulances used domestically should carry cardiac monitoring and resuscitation equipment comparable to MRAP ambulances currently fielded in overseas contingency operations.

The National Guard's missions include responding to terrorist attacks, homeland security emergencies, natural disasters, and providing defense support to civil authorities. How can the Guard carry out its required missions if it does not have the proper equipment necessary to deal with severe injuries?

As these Humvee ambulances are currently equipped, medical personnel are extremely limited in the available treatment they can provide to an injured person. Essentially, an ambulance in this configuration can only provide very basic care and the simple transportation of a patient from one place to another. For example, I understand that medical personnel would be unable to treat a patient experiencing cardiac arrest. This is a serious problem.

State National Guard units across the country want this equipment and have indicated that it could make the difference between life and death in emergency situations. The Adjutants General in eight different States, including Washington, Montana, North Dakota, Hawaii, New York, Arizona, and my home State of Oregon, have submitted resolutions for the emergency procurement of cardiac monitoring equipment to be used by their individual State Guard units, but because the National Guard Bureau does not view this equipment as ``required,'' it has backed out of a plan to purchase it despite the support of multiple States.

This amendment will require the National Guard Bureau to reexamine whether or not cardiac monitoring and resuscitation equipment is required and necessary for the Guard to fulfill its homeland security, terrorist attack, national disaster response, and defense support to civil authorities responsibilities. Should the capability assessment find that the equipment is necessary, under this amendment, the Army may use funds from this section to retrofit and install the equipment in domestic Humvee ambulances currently in use by the National Guard.

This is a commonsense issue. The Guardsmen and -women who operate ambulances should be provided the best capability available to save lives across this country in the event of an emergency.

I urge my colleagues' support of this bipartisan amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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