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NATIONAL CEMETERY SYSTEM AND H.R. 821 

Y 4. V 64/3; ] 03-1 8 

national Cenetery Sgsten and H.R. 8. . . jp 

BEFORE THE 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON 
HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AEFAIRS 

OF THE 

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS 
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATrO]S 

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS 
FIRST SESSION 



JUNE 10, 1993 



Printed for the use of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs 

Serial No. 103-18 







DEC 2 3 i; ■; 



f|CI»?- 



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
WASHINGTON : 1993 



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office 
Superintendent of Documents. Congressional Sales Office, Washington. DC 20402 
ISBN 0-16-041639-6 



NATIONAL CEMETERY SYSTEM AND H.R. 821 

Y 4. V b4/3: 103-18 

National Ceneterg Sgsten and H.R. 8. . . jp 

BEFORE THE 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON 
HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS 

OF THE 

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS 
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATr\^S 

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS 

FIRST SESSION 



JUNE 10, 1993 



Printed for the use of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs 

Serial No. 103-18 







DEC 2 3 ms 



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
71-287 tj WASHINGTON : 1993 

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office 
Supenntendent of Documents. Congressional Sales Office, Washington. DC 20402 
ISBN 0-16-041639-6 



COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS 



G.V. (SONNY) MONTGOMERY, Mississippi, Chairman 



DON EDWARDS, California 

DOUGLAS APPLEGATE, Ohio 

LANE EVANS, Illinois 

TIMOTHY J. PENNY, Minnesota 

J. ROY ROWLAND, Georgia 

JIM SLATTERY, Kansas 

JOSEPH P. KENNEDY, II, Massachusetts 

GEORGE E. SANGMEISTER, Illinois 

JILL L. LONG, Indiana 

CHET EDWARDS, Texas 

MAXINE WATERS, California 

BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee 

BOB FILNER, California 

FRANK TEJEDA, Texas 

LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, Illinois 

SCOTTY BAESLER, Kentucky 

SANFORD BISHOP, Georgia 

JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina 

MIKE KREIDLER, Washington 

CORRINE BROWN, Florida 



BOB STUMP, Arizona 
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey 
DAN BURTON, Indiana 
MICHAEL BILIRAKIS, Florida 
THOMAS J. RIDGE, Pennsylvania 
FLOYD SPENCE, South Carolina 
TIM HUTCHINSON, Arkansas 
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama 
STEVE BUYER, Indiana 
JACK QUINN, New York 
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama 
JOHN LINDER, Georgia 
CLIFF STEARNS, Florida 
PETER T. KING, New York 



Mack Fleming, Staff Director and Chief Counsel 



SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS 
GEORGE E. SANGMEISTER, Illinois, Chairman 



SANFORD BISHOP, Georgia 

MIKE KREIDLER, Washington 

G.V. (SONNY) MONTGOMERY, Mississippi 



DAN BURTON, Indiana 
FLOYD SPENCE, South Carolina 
STEVE BUYER, Indiana 



(n) 



CONTENTS 



June 10, 1993 



Page 

National Cemetery System and H.R. 821 1 

OPENING STATEMENTS 

Chairman Sangmeister 1 

Prepared statement of Chairman Sangmeister 37 

WITNESSES 

Bonilla, Hon. Henry, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas 2 

Prepared statement of Congressman Bonilla 38 

Bowen, Jerry W., Director, National Cemetery System, Department of Veter- 
ans Affairs, accompanied by Roger R. Rapp, Director, Field Operations 5 

Prepared statement of Mr. Bowen 39 

Brinck, Michael F., National Legislative Director, AMVETS 20 

Prepared statement of Mr. Brinck 58 

Cline, M. Sgt. Michael (ret.). Executive Director, Enlisted Association of the 

National Guard 31 

Prepared statement of Sergeant Cline 86 

Cullinan, Dennis M., National Legislative Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars .. 23 

Prepared statement of Mr. Cullinan 70 

Dola, Steven, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Management and Budget, Depart- 
ment of the Army 12 

Prepared statement of Mr. Dola 42 

Dupree, Clifton E., Associate Legislative Director, Paralyzed Veterans of 

America 21 

Prepared statement of Mr. Dupree 63 

Johnson, Richard, Director, Legislative Affairs, Non Commissioned Officers 

Association 25 

Prepared statement of Mr. Johson 66 

Ryan, Col. William E., Jr., Director of Operations and Finance, American 

Battle Monuments Commission 14 

Prepared statement of Colonel Ryan 47 

Schreiber, Col. Charles G. (ret.). Director, Legislative Activities, National 

Guard Association 30 

Prepared statement of Colonel Schreiber 80 

Violante, Joseph A., Legislative Counsel, Disabled American Veterans 18 

Prepared statement of Mr. Violante 50 

Vitikacs, John R., Assistant Director, National Veterans Affairs and Rehabili- 
tation Commission, The American Legion 24 

Prepared statement of Mr. Vitikacs 75 

MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD 

Bill: 

H.R. 821 35 

(III) 



IV 

Statements: » . ■ qa 

National Concrete Burial Vault Association »^ 

American Cemetery Association 

Written committee questions and their responses: 

Chairman Sangmeister to Department of Veterans Affairs i"'^ 



NATIONAL CEMETERY SYSTEM AND H.R. 821 



THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 1993 

House of Representatives, 
Subcommittee on Housing and 
Memorial Affairs, 
Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 

Washington, DC. 
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:35 a.m., in room 
334, Cannon House Office Building, Hon. George E. Sangmeister 
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding. 

Present: Representatives Sangmeister, Burton, Buyer. 

OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN SANGMEISTER 

Mr. Sangmeister. The subcommittee will be in order. 

I'm pleased to welcome all of the witnesses to discuss the pro- 
grams and operations of VA's National Cemetery System, Arling- 
ton National Cemetery and the American Battle Monuments Com- 
mission. 

Let me first extend a personal note of congratulations to Jerry 
W. Bowen, who is making his first appearance before the subcom- 
mittee in his position as the newly confirmed director of the Na- 
tional Cemetery System. We had a personal visit in my district 
about a week ago. It certainly was rewarding I would like to think, 
for both of us. 

Jerry, I look forward to working closely with you and your staff. 

The VA's National Cemetery System, as most of us know, con- 
sists of 114 national cemeteries, 59 of which are open to first family 
interments while 55 are closed except to eligible family members of 
those already buried. 

Over the next decade, we must focus our attention on identifying 
additional gravesites in our national cemeteries to meet the needs 
of an aging veteran population. Not only must we ensure that the 
honor of burial in our national shrines is available to veterans, but 
we must strive to ensure that all graves are perpetually main- 
tained at the highest standards possible. 

In a 1987 report to Congress, required by Public Law 99-576, VA 
identified ten areas of the country most in need of a national ceme- 
tery based on veteran population not served by a national or state 
veterans cemetery. While only one of the ten, the San Joaquin 
Valley National Cemetery in California, has opened, I look forward 
to receiving updates on the status of the remaining nine sites. I 
also want to encourage VA to move expeditiously and release the 
second report to Congress as required by law. 

(1) 



In reviewing the fiscal year 1994 budget request for the National 
Cemetery System, I note that the total request is slightly below the 
fiscal year 1993 appropriations level. While increased funding was 
provided in the last 2 fiscal years to help meet increased workloads 
in all areas, I question how NCS will continue to provide its serv- 
ices at the highest level with an essentially static budget. 

I look forward to hearing the testimony of my distinguished col- 
league, the Honorable Henry Bonilla of Texas on H.R. 821, legisla- 
tion he has introduced to amend Title 38 of the United States Code 
to extend eligibility for burial in a national cemetery to Reservists 
and National Guardsmen having served 20 years of qualified 
service. 

We have with us this morning the Honorable Henry Bonilla 
from the 23rd District of Texas and the Honorable Frank Tejeda 
from the 28th District of Texas. They wish to discuss, H.R. 821, the 
bill to allow burial of reservists that have served over 20 years 
service. 

Welcome to the committee and you may proceed. 

STATEMENT OF HON. HENRY BONILLA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN 
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS 

Mr. Bonilla. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have some very brief 
prepared remarks and would be happy to take any questions after 
that. 

Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee on Housing 
and Memorial Affairs, I'm pleased to be here with you this morn- 
ing on behalf of over one million reservists and their families in 
each and every Congressional district across this great Nation. I 
appreciate the opportunity to testify regarding legislation which I 
introduced earlier this session, H.R. 821. I introduced this biparti- 
san bill along with Charlie Stenholm and Veterans' Committee 
members Frank Tejeda, who is here with me today, and Congress- 
man Steve Buyer. As you know, this legislation would extend eligi- 
bility for burial in national cemeteries to members of the Reserve 
components of our Armed Forces who have at least 20 years of 
service creditable for retired pay. 

Under current law, the only members of the Reserve components 
of the Armed Forces who are eligible for burial in a national ceme- 
tery are those who, number one, die under honorable conditions 
while hospitalized or undergoing treatment at the expense of the 
United States for injury or disease contracted or incurred while 
such member is performing active duty for training, in active duty 
training or traveling to or from such duty; number two, are dis- 
abled or die from disease or injury incurred or aggravated in line 
of duty during or enroute to or from inactive duty training; and 
number three, are disabled or die from injury but not disease in- 
curred or aggravated in line of duty during or enroute to or from 
active duty training. 

However, members of the Reserves who have spent 20 years pre- 
paring both physically and mentally to defend our Nation at a mo- 
ment's notice are not eligible for burial in the National Cemetery 
System. 



Mr. Chairman, as you are well aware, similar legislation, H.R. 
4368, which provided for the burial benefits specified in H.R. 821, 
unanimously passed this subcommittee, the full Committee and the 
full House of Representatives during the 102nd Congress. 

Mr. Chairman, reservists have served this Nation admirably over 
the years. Today, reservists participate routinely in operations such 
as Just Cause, Kindle Liberty in Panama, Urgent Fury in Grenada 
and Desert Shield/ Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf. Reservists 
also stand ready to assist Americans when a disaster hits home 
such as Hurricane Andrew, after which we saw Reserve forces 
maintaining law and order and providing humanitarian assistance 
in Southern Florida. 

These instances that I have just noted are only a few of the ways 
in which reservists serve our Nation. I believe that this dedicated 
service must be acknowledged and reservists provided the benefit 
of burial in a national cemetery. We should do as the members of 
the 102nd Congress did in recognizing that reservists who dedicate 
years to their country should be accorded burial rights in our na- 
tional cemeteries. 

I would like to remind the subcommittee of the comments of the 
distinguished Chairman of the Veteran Affairs Committee, Sonny 
Montgomery, who 1 year ago yesterday, on the floor of the House, 
urged passage of H.R. 4368 which was similar to today's H.R. 821. I 
would like to second Chairman Montgomery's statement of that 
day in which he said, "Mr. Chairman, I urge passage of this legisla- 
tion." 

Those are my prepared comments and I'd be more than happy to 
answer any questions that the committee may have. 

[The prepared statement of Congressman Bonilla appears on 
p. 38.] 

Mr. Sangmeister. Well, one question that I have and I am not 
sure if you've got an answer to it because I don't know how you put 
the figures together, but there's not by any means unanimous op- 
position to this bill. In fact, you have some support for what you 
want to do. One of the questions is with spaces closing in our na- 
tional cemeteries and with our veterans becoming older, more of 
them dying, we need the space that we have right now. Do you 
have any figures on how many more interments would take place 
if we opened it up to reservists? 

Mr. Bonilla. Yes. About 6,900 reservists a year would be eligi- 
ble, but only a small percentage of this number would seek burial 
in national cemeteries. 

Mr. Sangmeister. There may be some dispute on your last 
figure, but it's interesting. Can you tell me how you put together 
the 6,900 figure? Just taking a percentage of those that are eligible 
that you think would take advantage of it. 

Mr. Bonilla. Just one second. 

Mr. Sangmeister. I'm not trying to pin you down. I think you 
probably took a percentage of the 6,900 

Mr. Bonilla. No, no, no. I do have that. 

Mr. Sangmeister (continuing). The eligible. 

Mr. Bonilla. Let me read from last year's committee report. 
"CBO estimates that the total number of deaths from these two 
groups would be around 6,900 annually based on the data from the 



Defense Department actuaries. The estimate further assumes that 
burial in a national cemetery would be requested for only 12 per- 
cent of these reservists at an average cost of about $500.00 per 
burial and annually that's about $400,000.00." 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. Mr. Buyer, do you have any questions? 

Mr. Buyer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

I compliment my colleagues for coming forward here. Frank, are 
you going to testify on this particular bill? 

Mr. Tejeda. No, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Buyer. I just wanted 
to 

Mr. Buyer. It was my understanding he was not testifying. 
Thanks, Mr. Chairman. 

I know that perhaps some are sa5dng, "Well, as we enter not 
only our budget crisis, Mr. Chairman, and we're closing up ceme- 
teries, why do we want to open up more spaces to our cemeteries?" 
and that's a legitimate question to ask. 

But I step back, Mr. Chairman, from a very objective point of 
view and say as we look at the one military concept and with the 
downsizing of our military, placing greater emphasis upon the con- 
tributions of the National Guard and the Reserves into the one 
military concept to be able to even respond to second contingencies 
now, is the kind of force structure we're moving to in the Armed 
Services Committee and that's what's happening over there in the 
Pentagon. Because of what occurred in the Persian Gulf War, it 
was the accolade for the one military concept, especially to those 
who were critical, whether or not the National Guard had the 
training and could perform, whether or not the reservists were 
properly trained. Desert Storm silenced a lot of that. 

So, if we're going to talk about the one military concept and 
place greater reliance upon the National Guard and the Reserves, 
then one military concept extends beyond training, it extends 
beyond the battlefield. 

It extends to equal treatment and that treatment also means ex- 
tending the rights of burial. We extend those rights in the VA 
system if they've been service-connected disabilities and those 
forms of benefits, and that is why, Mr. Bonilla, I didn't hesitate at 
all to sign onto your bill. 

I think he's taking it into account, Mr. Chairman, by placing 
some limitations. 

Henry, why did you say only to 20 years? 

Mr. Bonilla. Well, we felt strongly that a special recognition 
should not extend to everyone, but we feel that 20 years is a 
strong, solid, long-term commitment. So, that's what we base that 
on. 

Mr. Buyer. And, of course, these are individuals who have come 
on to the retirement system. 

Mr. Bonilla. Right, so they're eligible in every way to receive re- 
tirement and the honor that goes along with having served. 

Mr. Buyer. Henry, have you thought about if this places stress 
upon the cemetery system, what other avenues could we approach 
to open up more cemeteries? 

Mr. Bonilla. I'd be happy to work with you or any member of 
the committee to try to open new cemeteries. I think we have a lot 
of space in this country that can be used for that purpose. 



Mr. Buyer. And I note, Mr. Chairman, many even on this com- 
mittee have talked about military base closures and a lot of these 
bases being closed and having Reserve enclaves on bases, and the 
use of some of that space, because some of them have museums 
and they want to keep museums. So, you've got space there for 
some cemetery. 

Thank you, Henry. 

Mr. BoNiLLA. Thank you. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Well, both of you make a persuasive argument 
and we have people here this morning that we want to hear from 
that I think have some thoughts about whether we should or 
should not do this. So, we'll get both perspectives on it. 

Thank you very much. Your bill will be given full attention by 
this subcommittee and we'll make a decision one way or another as 
we go through the process. 

Mr. BoNiLLA. Thank you, Mr.Chairman. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. The first panel that we're going to hear 
from this morning is from the Department of Veteran Affairs. The 
new Director, Jerry W. Bowen of the National Cemetery System, is 
accompanied by a familiar figure here, Roger Rapp, who is the Di- 
rector of Field Operations. 

So, if you gentlemen will take the table. 

While they're coming up, I want to say a word of thanks to the 
National Cemetery System for allowing a member of their staff. 
Ken Greenberg, to serve as a legislative fellow here and to extend 
his stay with the subcommittee. So, I thank you very much. Ken 
has been a big help to the subcommittee and I sure appreciate his 
being able to stay on at least to our August recess. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Mr. Bowen, welcome to the committee. We 
have your written testimony here which you can summarize or pro- 
ceed in any way you see fit. 

STATEMENT OF JERRY W. BOWEN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CEME- 
TERY SYSTEM, DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, 
ACCOMPANIED BY ROGER R. RAPP, DIRECTOR, FIELD OPER- 
ATIONS 

Mr. Bowen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

In addition to Mr. Rapp, as you mentioned, who is the Director of 
the NCS Field Operations, on my left, I also have with me at the 
witness table Vincent Barile, who is our Director of the NCS Oper- 
ation Support and Ms. Dorothy MacKay, who is Director of the 
NCS Budget and Planning Office. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Welcome to both of you. 

Mr. Bowen. Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the 
subcommittee, it's my pleasure to appear before you this morning 
to address the status of the National Cemetery System and to com- 
ment on H.R. 821, a bill to extend national cemetery burial eligibil- 
ity to persons with 20 years of service creditable for retired pay as 
members of Reserve component of the Armed Forces. 

Let me begin this morning by saying, Mr. Chairman, that this 
subcommittee has always been a supporter of the National Ceme- 
tery System and this support has been greatly appreciated. I look 



forward to working with you and members of the committee in the 
future. 

You asked me to speak this morning on the operational needs of 
the National Cemetery System. Although I have been Director only 
a short period of time, I have had sufficient opportunity to meet 
with our NCS area directors and several of our cemetery directors 
to discuss their views, recommendations and concerns. I've been fa- 
vorably impressed with the dedication and the pride exhibited by 
members of the National Cemetery System and it will be my privi- 
lege to serve with them in the years ahead. 

One of our main goals is to make the benefit of interment in a 
national cemetery available to as many veterans as possible. We 
have 114 national cemeteries located throughout the United States 
and Puerto Rico. And as you mentioned, 59 are open for burial 
while 55 are closed to the casketed interment of a first family 
member. Our newest national cemetery, San Joaquin Valley in 
Northern California, opened in June 1992. 

As a result of the aging of our World War II and Korean War 
veterans, the demand for cemetery grave space will increase in the 
coming years. This increased demand for service requires that the 
NCS carefully manage existing resources and identify future oppor- 
tunities to acquire additional land for burial space. This will be ac- 
complished in four ways. First, we seek to extend the service period 
of open national cemeteries through the development of available 
space for cremated remains. Second, to acquire land through pur- 
chase or donation to keep existing cemeteries open. Third, we en- 
courage States to provide additional grave sites through participa- 
tion in the State Cemetery Grants Program. And four, we will es- 
tablish, when feasible, new national cemeteries to serve the needs 
of the veteran population. 

Progress has been made in planning for construction of cemeter- 
ies in our large metropolitan areas which are currently under- 
served. Regarding the areas identified in VA's 1987 report to Con- 
gress as being most in need of a national cemetery, the needs of 
one area are met by the San Joaquin Valley Cemetery, as I men- 
tioned. Final environmental impact statements have been complet- 
ed or are expected to be completed for the remaining nine areas by 
early 1994. Funding has been provided for land acquisition and 
master planning at four of these sites, Albany, Chicago, Cleveland 
and Seattle. Master planning funds have been provided for Dallas. 
The second report to Congress is currently under VA internal 
review. 

Our projections indicate that 11 of the 59 open national cemeter- 
ies will close to first family member interments before the year 
2000, with an additional 13 cemeteries closing before the year 2020 
unless adjacent land is acquired. Those cemeteries which are pro- 
jected to close are currently under internal review to determine 
the feasibility of extending their service life through the acquisi- 
tion of adjacent land. Four of the 11 cemeteries scheduled to close 
before the year 2000, in Florence, SC; Fort Sam Houston, TX; 
Biloxi, MS; and Da5rton, OH, have land acquisition in progress and 
we're optimistic that we will be able to keep these cemeteries open 
into the 21st century. This effort will repiain a priority. 



Specifically you've asked me to speak to our operational needs in 
light of the current restrained fiscal environment. We have three 
main operational goals. Number one is having the personnel to do 
the job. Number two is having the equipment to do the job, and 
number three is maintaining and repairing what we have. How can 
we accomplish these goals with a budget that is essentially remain- 
ing level while our rate of burial increases? 

The 1994 budget submission includes an increase of 11 employees 
for our cemeteries. As you are aware, we have a substantial back- 
log of equipment in need of replacement. By the end of fiscal year 
1993, that backlog will be reduced to $5.8 million. The National 
Cemetery System has requested sufficient funding in 1994 to main- 
tain the progress already made against this backlog. Accordingly, 
we will have enough functioning equipment to serve the cemeter- 
ies. As for maintenance, we believe that the additional FTEE, the 
strides that have been made in the equipment backlog to date, and 
that intangible, the dedication of our employees, will permit us to 
maintain our cemeteries in the manner expected by those that we 
serve. 

Finally, I want to turn now to the issue of H.R. 821 which would 
extend eligibility for burial in national cemeteries to persons who 
have 20 years of service creditable for retired pay as members of a 
Reserve component of the Armed Forces. VA has previously ex- 
pressed opposition to similar proposals, noting that veterans bene- 
fit programs developed by Congress over the last four decades are 
generally not available to those individuals whose military service 
does not include actual active duty. We believe that extension of 
any veterans benefit to individuals who are prepared to serve on 
active duty but have not actually done so could have far reaching 
implications. Considering the uncertainty of these implications, VA 
cannot endorse the expansion of eligibility for burial in a national 
cemetery for individuals whose military service does not meet the 
criteria established under current law. 

At this time, there are more than one million individuals in the 
Selected Reserve and more than 500,000 in the Individual Ready 
Reserve. We cannot estimate the long-term costs since we do not 
know the percentage of reservists who would seek burial in the na- 
tional cemeteries. The issue for us is not just the up front burial 
cost, but the cost of perpetual care and, more irnportantly, the de- 
pletion of limited grave space for veterans of active duty and their 
dependents. 

There are also other budgetary implications for NCS if our serv- 
ice population is expanded to include 20 year reservists. We would 
experience additional requests for headstones and markers and 
Presidential Memorial Certificates. In addition to the cost of mate- 
rials, increased program workload could result in the need for addi- 
tional staff. 

For these reasons, Mr. Chairman, the Department of Veterans 
Affairs cannot support H.R. 821. 

This concludes my statement and I welcome questions from you 
or members of the subcommittee. 

[The prepared statement of Mr. Bowen appears on p. 39.] 

Mr. Sangmeister. I now recognize Mr. Rapp. 

Mr. Rapp. I have no comments, sir. 



8 

Mr. Sangmeister. No comments? Okay. All right. 

First I'd like to acknowledge the presence of the ranking minori- 
ty member, Mr. Dan Burton of Indiana. 

Dan, welcome. 

On the legislation before us, H.R. 821, as I understand your posi- 
tion, you are opposed to it from two standpoints. One, philosophi- 
cally. You don't think someone who has not served on active duty 
should be eligible for interment in a national cemetery. Is that 
what you're saying, along with the fact of space limitations and 
then the maintenance thereafter? It's a combination of all the 
factors? 

Mr. BowEN. That is correct, sir. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. Getting a little parochial, one of the 
first questions that I want to ask is in light of our tour that we had 
back in my Congressional District, I requested that an environmen- 
tal impact statement be prepared on the Hoff Woods site. I sent a 
letter to the Secretary requesting that. Can you give me an update? 

Mr. BowEN. Well, yes, sir, it is in progress and I can give you an 
update. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. 

Mr. Bowen. We have contacted the environmental consulting 
firm that did the original work for the three sites in the Chicago 
area — Fort Sheridan, Grant Park and Cissna Park. We're going to 
do a modification to their original contract, so that they can pick 
up the Joliet site as an addendum to the original contract. We're 
proceeding on that at this time. We have indications that we will 
be successful in this effort and that should cut quite a bit of the 
time off what it would normally take us to do a new survey at a 
site. 

Mr. Sangmeister. You always push for a time frame. What does 
that mean? Are we talking about September, October, end of the 
year? I know it's difficult for you to answer, but you've got to have 
a time frame in your mind. 

Mr. Bowen. Yes, sir. We have had estimates from anywhere 
from 14 months at the far side to as short as 11 months. I plan to 
monitor this project personally and see what can be done to shave 
some time off of that 10 to 14-month estimate generally used as a 
benchmark. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Well, that's much appreciated and I'm glad 
you're going to personally monitor the process. If Hoff Woods is 
going to be the site, we ought to get it designated and get the proc- 
ess moving. 

Mr. Bowen. Yes, sir. Just yesterday I had a meeting with our Di- 
rector of Construction Management and in addition to my empha- 
sis on it, he has also indicated to me that he will closely monitor 
this in conjunction with NCS. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. VA's 1987 report to Congress identified 
ten sites to establish new national cemeteries. The Department 
contracted for a second follow-up report to Congress with Logistics 
Management Institute. It is my understanding that as required by 
Public Law 99-576, the second report should have already been re- 
leased to Congress this year. Can you tell me the status of that 
report and when it is expected to be delivered to Congress? 



Mr. BowEN. Yes, sir. The Logistics Management Institute, or 
what we call the LMI study, has been completed. It is under inter- 
nal review at the Department of Veterans Affairs now. We have 
concluded that this report as a stand alone document will not meet 
the requirements of the report to Congress. As you mentioned, it's 
mandated under law. What we're doing now is taking the demo- 
graphic information from this study and preparing it in conjunc- 
tion with our overall policy concerning new cemetery construction. 
Obviously you're aware of the change in administration and the 
fact that the last NCS policy was formulated in November, 1990 by 
the previous secretary. That overall policy is under review and the 
LMI study will give us some data to help formulate that policy. 
Then based on that, once we have a policy, we will make the report 
to Congress. 

Mr. Sangmeister. What the committee would like and what I 
personally would like for our record is an update on the status of 
each of the ten sites. You will be furnishing that, will you not? 

Mr. BowEN. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. 

Mr. Bo WEN. We have a very complex matrix developed which 
identifies each of the 15 milestones in the development of a new 
cemetery. 

Mr. Sangmeister. That many? 

Mr. BowEN. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Oh, okay. Well 

Mr. BowEN. For each of those nine remaining sites, we can give 
you a complete breakdown. 

Mr. Sangmeister. All right. Okay. 

I don't know how we're going to handle this. Apparently we've 
got a journal vote going on. I don't think I can finish all the ques- 
tions that I'd like to ask of this panel. Perhaps, we'd be better off 
to take a break at this point. 

Mr. Burton, do you have any problem? 

Mr. Burton. Mr. Chairman, I'd just like to make one brief com- 
ment — and I appreciate your yielding. There has been in the past a 
lack of coordination between the national cemeteries that are han- 
dled by the VA and the National Park Service annexes that are 
adjacent to them. We had a problem a couple of years ago with the 
annex at the Gettysburg Cemetery. I think that problem has been 
resolved. They now have upgraded it. It was really a mess there for 
awhile. I had some of my constituents who had their children 
buried over there who had died in combat and they went over 
there and it was a mess. But it has been rectified. 

I just wondered if there's better coordination across the country 
now with these annexes than there was in the past. You may not 
be able to answer that, but I wish you'd check into it because those 
annexes are right adjacent to the cemeteries, the national cemeter- 
ies that we have jurisdiction over, and a lot of them were in disre- 
pair. If you could just let me know in addition to the Gettysburg 
Cemetery if those are being upgraded, I'd sure appreciate it be- 
cause there should be that coordination. 

Mr. Bowen. I will check into that, sir. 

Mr. Burton. Okay. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Sangmeister. You're welcome. 



10 

Mr. Buyer, maybe you would like to question them a little bit 

about their position 

Mr. Buyer. Right. I'm not going to take- 



Mr. Sangmeister (continuing). On the bill you're cosponsoring. 

Mr. Buyer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I don't want to be taking 
on the VA, but I have a question of Mr. Bowen. 

Are you a 20 year veteran of active service? 

Mr. Bowen. Yes, sir, I am. 

Mr. Buyer. I had that feeling. 

Mr. Bowen. However, sir, if I may add, I started my military 
career in 1962 as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. 

Mr. Buyer. Well, when I came out of the Citadel I didn't take an 
active duty commission. I was offered one and I took a Reserve 
commission and I've been on active duty several times. But I look 
at the commitment of those who serve in — who are in the Reserve 
and who serve the National Guard who may have never done their 
180 days. But you heard earlier my statement about the total force 
concept. Guarantee, Mr. Bowen, even over there on the Armed 
Services Committee and dealing with the active force, there is a 
mind set, there is an attitude of the active force and their accept- 
ance of the total force concept, even after Desert Storm. It contin- 
ues to boggle my mind. It gets down even to the minutia of who is 
going to rate whom. 

Mr. Bowen. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Buyer. I mean there is a "like hell" attitude of the active 
service that they'll never let a reservist or a National Guard officer 
or an NCO rate someone who is on active duty. We can talk about 
one force concept and all those good things, how we want to work 
together as a team, but there are still a lot of separations between 
the two. Over time, I think it only becomes better, but if we're 
looking at this reliability as a Nation upon the total force concept 
and bringing together those Reserve and the National Guard and 
the active force truly as one unit, then we've got to address some of 
those other things. 

When we talk about 20 years, we're not talking about someone 
that went in for a couple hitches. We're talking about that 20 
years. So, we can debate the philosophical aspect of it for a long 
time, if you like, but I disagree with the VA's position on the phi- 
losophy, Mr. Chairman. 

On the space limitation and the cost aspect, you're looking at it 
as someone who is very conservative and very fiscally minded. But 
it does not sit well with that total philosophy that I share of the 
total force concept and what we try to do over there on the Armed 
Services Committee. And then when you come over here to this VA 
subcommittee and then try to turn to the VA itself, and say, 
"Come on, guys, gals, let's get on board here with the total force 
concept," and that also means in the benefits. That's what we try 
to do in this particular legislation in reaching out to that form of 
benefit. 

So, I made my comments earlier, Mr. Chairman, on space limita- 
tions and the cost and we recognize those aspects. If you need more 
money, ask. I'm sure that you've got people here that will give you 
a good ear and I'll work on Mr. Burton 

Mr. Sangmeister. I was going to suggest that to you. 



11 

Mr. Buyer (continuing). Towards trying to cut out funds. I'll 
work on my colleague on that. 

Mr. Burton. Put me on the bill. 

Mr. Buyer. All right. 

Mr. BowEN. Do I have time to respond, Mr. Chairman? 

Mr. Sangmeister. You sure have. 

Mr. Bowen. We are concerned about cost, that's true. Our pri- 
mary concern, however, is the availability of burial space. There 
was a comment made earlier that we have plenty of gravesites. 
We're not crowding out the total gravesites, but what we are losing 
is the closing of the 11 national cemeteries that I mentioned earlier 
and that we would deny burial for an eligible veteran under cur- 
rent law by expanding the eligibility to the 20-year reservist. If it's 
a matter of grave space available total, yes, but these are in the 
newer cemeteries that are not near the current veteran population 
in many cases. 

So, once we close a cemetery, because there is no adjacent land, 
then the veteran who has served under current law would not have 
that available grave space. So, that's our primary concern. Not the 
cost, but the actual grave space. 

Mr. Buyer. Okay. To be positive on this, Mr. Chairman, if we 
were to make an amendment to H.R. 821 to say that these 20 year 
veterans of National Guard and Reserve would be eligible on new 
sites, would that be amenable to the VA? 

Mr. Bowen. I would have to review that, sir. I've not looked at 
that specifically. 

Mr. Buyer. Can I discuss that with you 

Mr. Bowen. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Buyer (continuing). Later on and if you would be more ame- 
nable to an amendment to these new sites and new cemeteries and 
not into the old, if that's where the real problem is, I'd be more 
than happy to talk to you about it. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Sangmeister. We're going to have to break. I'm reluctant to 
hold this panel at least, until we get back from this vote. I have a 
number of questions here I'd like to ask, but we're going to submit 
them in writing to you and expect detailed answers back. So, I will 
release this panel. We will then go over and cast our vote, come 
back here and reconvene with the subsequent panels. We're cer- 
tainly interested to hear what the veterans' organizations have to 
say about H.R. 821 as well. So, we'll be back. We'll convene as soon 
as we get back here. I presume that's about 15 minutes. 

[Recess.] 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay, the committee is back in session and on 
our second panel we have Mr. Steven Dola, who is the Deputy As- 
sistant Secretary for Management and Budget, Department of the 
Army with Arlington National Cemetery. 

Welcome. 

And Colonel William E. Ryan, Director of Operations and Fi- 
nance from the American Battle Monuments Commission. 



12 

STATEMENTS OF STEVEN DOLA, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRE- 
TARY, MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, DEPARTMENT OF THE 
ARMY; COL. WILLIAM E. RYAN, JR., DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS 
AND FINANCE, AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION 

Mr. Sangmeister. Gentlemen, thank you very much for being 
here and whoever wants to proceed may do so. 
Mr. Dola. 

STATEMENT OF STEVEN DOLA 

Mr. Dola. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. 

With me on my left is Mr. John C. Metzler, Jr., the Superintend- 
ent of Arlington National Cemetery. We're both pleased to be ap- 
pearing before this committee today testifying on the operation of 
Arlington National Cemetery. 

I would like to submit my complete statement for the record, Mr. 
Chairman, and briefly summarize a few items. 

Mr. Sangmeister. The entire written testimony will be made a 
part of the record. 

Mr. Dola. Thank you, sir. 

cemeterial expenses, army, budget request 

The budget request for fiscal year 1994 is $12,738,000.00. The 
funds requested are sufficient to support the work force, to assure 
adequate maintenance of the buildings, and to acquire necessary 
supplies and equipment. The funds requested will finance oper- 
ations at Arlington and Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National 
Cemeteries. 

Construction funds in the amount of $4,193,000.00 are included 
in the budget for the following: repair of the service complex, flag- 
stone walks and roads, repair of the roofs at the Soldiers' and Air- 
men's Home National Cemetery Lodge and Arlington's Lodge 
Number 1, design for the next increment of the Columbarium, in- 
stallation of heavy duty doors at the visitors center, and conversion 
of the air conditioning system at the administration building. 

The budget also includes, Mr. Chairman, funds to allow the 
Army to complete development of a new master plan, to continue 
removal of old underground fuel storage tanks at Arlington, and to 
begin implementation of a graveliner program. 

ceremonies 

Thousands of visitors both foreign and American visited Arling- 
ton in fiscal year 1992 to participate in about 1,900 non-funeral 
ceremonies to honor those who rest in the cemetery. I'm proud to 
report that after 51 years the remains of Ignace Jan Paderewski, 
the Polish pianist, composer and statesman, have been returned to 
his native Poland. A ceremony was conducted in Arlington in con- 
junction with that repatriation. 

interment elligibility 

There has been no recent change in the interment eligibility cri- 
teria for Arlington National Cemetery. These criteria are stated in 
the Code of Federal Regulations. 



13 



FUNERALS 



In fiscal year 1992, there were 2,962 interments and 1,277 inurn- 
ments, and 3,500 interments and 1,300 inurnments are estimated in 
fiscal year 1993. At this rate for inurnments, Mr. Chairman, avail- 
able space in the existing Columbarium will be exhausted in fiscal 
year 1998. Funds in the amount of $520,000.00 have been included 
in the fiscal year 1994 budget to begin design of the next increment 
of the Columbarium. 

STATUS OF PUBLIC LAWS 100-322 AND 101-237 

Public Law 100-322 authorizes the Secretary of the Army to pro- 
vide graveliners for graves in Arlington National Cemetery. The 
fiscal year budget includes $190,000.00 to begin implementation of 
that program. 

Public Law 101-237 requires the Secretary of the Army to desig- 
nate an appropriate area within Arlington National Cemetery for 
the unmarked interment of ashes. We are pleased to report that an 
appropriate site within Section 27 of Arlington National Cemetery 
has been identified. A plan for the site has been developed and 
trees and shrubs have been purchased and planted. Benches also 
have been purchased and will be installed. The walkway through 
the site that we planned will be completed next year. 

This completes my summary, Mr. Chairman. We'll be pleased to 
answer your questions. 

[The prepared statement of Mr. Dola appears on p. 42.] 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. 

First, thanks again, Mr. Metzler, for the courtesies extended to 
me when I was out there to visit you. I appreciate that very much. 

Mr. Metzler. You're welcome, sir. 

Mr. Sangmeister. You spoke about a new master plan. What do 
you mean by a new master plan? 

Mr. Dola. Mr. Chairman, we have a master plan now that is 
over 25 years old; it has had a number of projects. Most of those 
projects have been completed. All but two, in fact, have been com- 
pleted. We need to look ahead and develop the future infrastructiye 
projects that will be needed including transportation, drainage, ir- 
rigation, electrical service, and water service. Buildings that need 
to be restored, new buildings or facilities that need to be complet- 
ed — we will take a look at those in the master plan. An environ- 
mental assessment will be prepared. In summary, a new master 
plan affords an opportunity to look at all the things that need to be 
done so we can anticipate and take care of the needs at Arlington 
into the future. 

Mr. Sangmeister. When I was out there talking to Mr. Metzler, 
he made me aware of the fact that there is ongoing, as there would 
be at any cemetery but particularly at Arlington, maintenance of 
all structures. Is this budget that we're coming up with going to be 
adequate? It's not everything that everybody's going to want this 
year, that's for sure, but are you going to be able to do what you 
have to do, I guess is the way to put the question. 

Mr. Dola. Well, I'll let Mr. Metzler answer your question in a 
moment, but I would point out, Mr. Chairman, that there are sev- 
eral things that Congress has funded that are very important that 



14 

are going on there. The restoration of the Memorial Amphitheater, 
funds for a new faciUty maintenance complex, these are two of the 
most prominent facilities that are already funded and will be get- 
ting underway later this year. 

Would you like to add to that, Mr. Metzler? 

Mr. Metzler. Yes, sir. 

The funds that we have allotted for fiscal year 1994 are not quite 
the same as we had in fiscal year 1993. We've declined by about 
$295,000.00. It will be challenging for us to continue to maintain 
the Cemetery at the same level that we currently have right now, 
however we do feel comfortable that if we pare back a number of 
items that we currently buy on a regular basis to a more modest 
level that we'll be able to continue to maintain the Cemetery. 

This particular year we've had a lot of storms come through the 
Cemetery, last night another one. We've lost a number of trees. 
We've had a number of branches come down. And we're continual- 
ly working and maintaining these areas, but we realize as the Cem- 
etery continues to age it's going to cost us more money to maintain 
that beautiful shrine at the same level that we are all expected to 
have it at. 

Mr. Sangmeister. What's the overall plan for expansion out 
there? I presume if anything in the area is up for sale or disposi- 
tion or anything else that's contiguous you will attempt to obtain 
it. Is that true? 

Mr. Metzler. Well, we're watching our neighbors very closely 
and, as a matter of fact, in the audience today is Col. Scott Deibler, 
the Post Commander of Fort Myer, one of our close neighbors and 
someone that we work with all the time. 

We're always looking at the Navy Annex as well. This is a struc- 
ture that's very old. World War II, and there are some plans right 
now to remove the structure. And if that does go through, then 
that will probably be one of the areas that we will look at first. 

Most of our neighbors are federal on all four sides and each one 
of those we stay in constant contact with to find out what their 
plans are for the future. Right now Arlington is good for initial in- 
terments until the year 2025 and we are concerned not only with 
what Mr. Dola said but also the future in looking at potential sites 
for expansion of the Cemetery beyond the year 2025 and we will 
consider some of these items in our new master plan too in some 
strategic planning. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. 

Colonel Ryan. 

STATEMENT OF COL. WILLIAM E. RYAN, JR. 

Colonel Ryan. Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Would you pull that mike over a little closer 
to you there? 

Colonel Ryan. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sangmeister. There you go. 

Colonel Ryan. The American Battle Monuments Commission 
welcomes the opportunity to provide information to the subcommit- 
tee on its operations. As you have copies of my prepared statement 



15 

and it will appear verbatim in the record, I will summarize its 
contents. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Very good. Proceed. 

Colonel Ryan. Colonel Badger, the Acting Secretary of the Com- 
mission, is presently inspecting our shrines in Europe and in the 
Mediterranean areas. He called me this week to say that those he 
had inspected so far are even more beautiful and immaculately 
maintained than he has seen previously in his 19 years with the 
Commission. We hope that you will take the opportunity to visit 
them whenever possible. 

As you will remember, legislation was enacted in 1986 authoriz- 
ing ABMC to establish a Korean War Veterans Memorial here in 
the Nation's capital. Subsequently, approval by the Congress was 
obtained to locate the memorial in the Mall area. A national 
design competition was held with the winning design receiving ap- 
proval with reservations of the Commissions of Fine Arts, the Na- 
tional Capital Planning Commission and the National Capital Me- 
morial Commission of the Department of the Interior. 

After many attempts at modification and much discussion, ap- 
proval of the design concept without reservations was received last 
year. Fortunately, we were able to retain the three basic elements 
of the original design: a formation of ground combat troops march- 
ing towards an objective symbolized by the U.S. flag, a commemo- 
rative wall paying tribute to the support forces from all of the mili- 
tary services whose dedicated and heroic service made the success 
of our ground troops possible, and an outdoor cathedral or quiet 
area enclosed by plantings where relatives and friends can be with 
their thoughts. 

We expect to receive final design approval this month, and a 
building permit sometime thereafter. 

In the meantime, a contract was let in February to stabilize the 
soil of the site and install the utilities. Our goal is to complete the 
memorial in sufficient time to dedicate it on 27 July 1995, the 42nd 
anniversary of the signing of the armistice in Korea. 

Our next commemorative project will be erection of a World War 
II memorial here in Washington, DC. The authorizing legislation. 
Public Law 108-32, was signed into law last month. Our initial 
action will be to request the Secretary of the Interior to petition 
the Congress to authorize its placement in the Mall area. 

We believe that the successful conclusion of World War II, to 
which the United States contributed immeasurably, was the most 
important event to date in the history of the free world and, as 
such, deserves placement in the Mall area. We sincerely hope that 
you will not only support the legislation but also encourage your 
colleagues to do so. 

This concludes my summary. I'll be happy to respond to your 
questions. 

[The prepared statement of Colonel Ryan appears on p. 47.] 

Mr. Sangmeister. So the two big things you've got going are the 
Korean War Memorial and now the World War II Memorial. 

Regarding the Korean War Memorial, I believe you recall we 
had a discussion in my office concerning the copyrights. We've got 
some veterans who spoke to me about the problem that they can't 
use replicas of that memorial on tee shirts or anything else because 



16 

it's copyrighted. In fact, I guess it's factual that some veterans 
were sued for doing exactly that with the Vietnam Memorial. So in 
light of the conversation we had, you were going to try to negotiate 
with the architect, sculptor and muralist of the monument as to 
maybe helping some of these veterans' organizations get out from 
underneath the copyright problem. While that is a general 
statement 

Have you had a chance to do anj^hing along that line? 

Colonel Ryan. Yes, sir. We've passed the word to them. I've 
worked up a little fact sheet on that. If you'll bear with me, I'll go 
through it quickly. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Yes. I'm interested in seeing what you've got 
on that. 

Colonel Ryan. I'll cover what has happened. The Army Corps of 
Engineers is our agent insofar as contracting for the final design 
for the construction of the Korean War Veterans Memorial. In 
doing so, the Army Corps of Engineers has contracted with the AE 
firm of Cooper-Lecky Associates — they're the ones that were the ar- 
chitects for the Vietnam Memorial — to take the winning design 
concept and amend it as necessary to obtain approval of its final 
design by the Commission of Fine Arts, the National Capital Plan- 
ning Commission and the Secretary of the Interior. 

As no mention was made in the contract of copyrights, the Fed- 
eral Acquisition Regulations reserve the memorial copyrights to 
the Commission or to the Federal agency concerned, and that hap- 
pens to be ourselves. When Cooper-Lecky subcontracted with the 
sculptor and the muralist for their work, their contracts did not ad- 
dress copyrights. Consequently, these two individuals assumed that 
they would own the copyrights for their particular artistic works. 
The two artists now have asked for the copyrights to their own 
work. They have informed us that they would not wish to complete 
the contracts without it. 

The Army Corps of Engineers' legal staff believes that it would 
be in the best interests of ABMC financially and time-wise to relin- 
quish the copyrights for reasonable compensation. Otherwise, it 
would be necessary for us to amend the artists' contracts to include 
compensation for such estimated royalties that they would have re- 
ceived. Any delay at this time in the artists' completing their work 
would jeopardize ABMC receiving a building permit or construction 
permit by the deadline of October 28, 1993, when ABMC's author- 
ity to establish the memorial expires should the Secretary of the 
Interior not have issued a building permit by that time. 

Presently, Cooper-Lecky is working with the artists to devise a 
copyright agreement that would provide reasonable compensation 
for the U.S. Government. We have asked that the agreement in- 
clude a statement that the artists would release their works for 
commercial reproduction on request, that a special low rate be au- 
thorized for veterans' organizations wishing to copy the works for 
commercial purposes, and that the agreement recognize that the 
public at large is authorized to photograph the works for its own 
private use. 

You had made a statement about tee shirts. Of course, if a veter- 
ans' organization wanted to put a replica of the memorial or a rep- 
lica of one of the pieces of sculpture on a tee shirt, it's perfectly 



17 

permissible as long as they give them away. It's when they do it for 
commercial purposes that there's difficulty with the copyright 
laws. 

Insofar as taking pictures of the memorial at any time and for 
any person's private use, this is certainly permissible. 

Mr. Sangmeister. So if I understand you correctly, there is some 
discussion going on of there being a reasonable cost for veterans' 
organizations that would want to reproduce it and sell it? 

Colonel Ryan. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Now the fees paid to the sculptor, muralist, or 
architect, for the memorial, is it taken into consideration that he's 
going to have copyright and therefore whatever he is paid to 
produce this is commensurate with the additional income he's 
going to get for copyright fees? 

Colonel Ryan. It should have been, but it was not. At the time 
Cooper-Lecky made up its contract with the two artists concerned, 
no mention was made of copyrights. The artists therefore assumed 
that they had the copyrights for their own particular artistic work. 

Mr. Sangmeister. And do you know off-hand what they get paid 
for doing that? 

Colonel Ryan. They're talking in the terms of millions of dollars, 
but I have no idea really. 

Mr. Sangmeister. I really think that's something that ought to 
be looked at. I understand there are people that are very talented, 
more talented than others. I don't know how you let contracts, 
whether they're just generally let or whether you pick people that 
are renowned for the kind of work that they produce. This seems to 
me like a double whammy to pay millions of dollars for the design 
of a war memorial and then turn around and have veterans' orga- 
nizations pay copyright fees. It's something that I think you need 
to keep a close eye on. 

Colonel Ryan. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sangmeister. The deadline for the construction permit is 
October 28, 1993. Are you going to meet that deadline or are you 
going to have to ask Congress for another legislative extension? 

Colonel Ryan. Hopefully we're going to meet it; we understand 
that we can schedule a meeting with the Commission of Fine Arts 
and the National Capital Planning Commission this month and we 
have about 98 percent of the final design completed by the archi- 
tect of record, Cooper-Lecky, so we should be able to make that 
deadline if we do not have a problem with what's submitted to 
these two commissions this month. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Let's move on to the World War II Memorial, 
you're requesting that it be placed somewhere on the Mall? Is that 
correct? 

Colonel Ryan. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sangmeister. You don't pick out an area that you think 
would be apropos for what you're going to put there? You just ask 
for some space on the Mall? Is that the way that's done? 

Colonel Ryan. That's the way it works in the Commemorative 
Works Act. First you must have approval to place it on the Mall, 
then you negotiate for an appropriate site. 

Mr. Sangmeister. The location. I see. 

I have no more questions. 



18 

All right. Thank you, gentlemen. We appreciate your being here 
today. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. 

Our third panel. 

From the Disabled American Veterans, Joe Violante; from 
AMVETS, Michael Brinck; Paralyzed Veterans of America, Clifton 
Dupree; Mr. Richard Johnson from the Non Commissioned Officers 
Association; Mr. John Vitikacs, American Legion; and Dennis Cul- 
linan from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

STATEMENTS OF JOSEPH A. VIOLANTE, LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL, 
DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS; MICHAEL F. BRINCK, NA- 
TIONAL LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR, AMVETS; CLIFTON E. 
DUPREE, ASSOCIATE LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR, PARALYZED 
VETERANS OF AMERICA; RICHARD JOHNSON, DIRECTOR, LEG- 
ISLATIVE AFFAIRS, NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICERS ASSOCIA- 
TION; JOHN R. VITIKACS, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, NATIONAL 
VETERANS AFFAIRS AND REHABILITATION COMMISSION, THE 
AMERICAN LEGION; DENNIS M. CULLINAN, NATIONAL LEGIS- 
LATIVE SERVICE, VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS 

Mr. Sangmeister. Welcome. Good to see you all again. You've all 
been here and heard the testimony. I'm interested in your com- 
ments on H.R. 821 as well as how you think our national cemeter- 
ies are being maintained. Any other comments that you believe 
helpful to this committee in the area of national cemeteries. 

Let's just go from right to left. 

Mr. Violante, why don't we start with you. 

STATEMENT OF JOSEPH A. VIOLANTE 

Mr. Violante. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

On behalf of the more than 1.4 million members of the Disabled 
American Veterans and its Women's Auxiliary, I thank you for 
this opportunity to express our views today. 

At the outset, Mr. Chairman, the DAV wishes to commend you 
on this timely exercise of your oversight responsibility. Clearly, the 
efforts of this subcommittee over the years have had a positive 
impact on the operations of the VA National Cemetery System. We 
applaud your continued interest. 

Mr. Chairman, the budget that is allocated to Arlington National 
Cemetery pays for the operation and maintenance of not only Ar- 
lington but also for the Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National 
Cemetery. We spoke with the staff of Arlington and it appears that 
the requested amount is adequate to maintain the services of both 
locations and to meet their projected needs. 

The American Battle Monuments Commission has been responsi- 
ble for the perpetual care of many of our most prized war memori- 
als as well as the overseas remains of our war dead. The Commis- 
sion has been charged with the task of coordinating the design and 
construction of the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC, and 
that design is about 90 percent completed. They've also been 
charged with the World War II Memorial and DAV looks forward 
to being able to pay homage and tribute to both our veterans of the 
Korean War and World War II here in our Nation's capital. 



19 

The DAV's legislative program is governed by mandates in the 
form of resolutions adopted by our membership at our annual DAV 
national convention. Since our membership has not adopted a reso- 
lution addressing the subject matter of providing national cemetery 
eligibility to selected Reserve members, the DAV has no position 
regarding H.R. 821. 

Mr. Chairman, last year more than 494,000 veterans died while 
the NSC only interred 47,000 of those veterans. This means that for 
every veteran interred in the VA system there was more than nine 
veterans who chose to have their remains placed elsewhere. At our 
most recent national convention, our delegates adopted a resolution 
seeking at least one open cemetery in each state. We believe the 
goal of this resolution is reasonable and pragmatic in establishing 
useful burial options for our Nation's veterans and we encourage 
the VA to consider it. 

Previous DAV testimony before this subcommittee has expressed 
our views that the National Cemetery System policy based solely 
on a regional concept is unrealistic. Additionally, we believe it im- 
portant that Congress take affirmative steps to fully fund new cem- 
etery sites. 

Mr. Chairman, there are other steps that can be taken to ease 
the NSC burdens. For example, there are States that have special 
state cemetery provisions for veterans. Pending the advent of an 
open national cemetery in every state, we support the State Ceme- 
tery Grants Program. 

Earlier this year this subcommittee heard testimony on a pro- 
posed amendment to Section 2408 to increase the federal share of 
the total grant and to reduce the states share. DAV believes that 
this increased grant to States will encourage more States to partici- 
pate in this program. The potential for increased state participa- 
tion in this program will provide a final resting place relatively 
close to a veteran's home and family. Perhaps the VA can take 
action to see that more States avail themselves of this benefit. 

All NCS costs relate to activities it is obligated to perform. Yet 
funding is provided in the discretionary account. To avoid future 
inadequate funding, we feel that all NCS activity should be funded 
from a mandatory spending account. 

The operation of the National Cemetery System has been ad- 
versely affected by the prior budgets and the proposed fiscal year 
1994 budget only keeps the NCS even with inflation. Money is also 
needed to furnish the previously deferred maintenance and repair 
projects. The independent budget recommends an appropriation of 
$80 million in fiscal year 1994. This increase will not fund all NSC 
equipment and maintenance needs, nor will it fund the optimal 
number of employees. It will only enable NCS to move forward to- 
wards its goals of meeting the burial needs of American veterans 
and their families. 

That concludes my testimony, Mr. Chairman. I'd be pleased to 
respond to any questions that you might have. 

[The prepared statement of Mr. Violante appears on p. 50.] 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. Moving to the AMVETS. 



20 

STATEMENT OF MICHAEL F. BRINCK 

Mr. Brinck. Good morning, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for hold- 
ing the hearing. 

Since its earUest beginnings during the Civil War, the National 
Cemetery System has provided the Nation's last service to its vet- 
erans. Today's system of cemeteries, soldier's plots and national 
parks ironically comprise a living memorial to the dead Americans 
who chose to answer their country's call to service. 

The National Cemetery System has grown to 114 cemeteries but 
only about 49 will remain open to casket burial by the year 2000 if 
new sites are not added. NCS has started development or identified 
sites in areas that will serve over four million veterans and their 
families and site selection is underway to serve another 2.4 million. 
Obviously this is still not enough because the system currently has 
grave sites for less than one percent of those who are eligible. 

A review of the planning schedule, I think referred to by Mr. 
Bowen, offers an example of how long it takes to complete a na- 
tional cemetery project. The development schedules for the nine re- 
maining regional cemeteries at Albany, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/ 
Fort Worth, Detroit, Miami, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh and Seattle 
average 35 months from initial site advertisement to the Secre- 
tary's signed record of decision, and 68 months from that decision 
to the formal dedication of the new cemetery. Again, these are 
averages. It now takes, therefore, about 9 years to bring a new 
cemetery on-line. These projects will help meet the VA's goal of an 
open cemetery within 75 miles of 75 percent of America's veterans 
and will go partial way towards meeting the AMVETS goal of an 
open cemetery in every state. 

But we are deeply disturbed at DOD's decision not to sell Fort 
Sheridan to the VA for a national cemetery. We under the VA was 
not able to meet the appraisal value and that the Army will sell 
this to a commercial interest. Unfortunately, this is just another 
case of DOD not wanting to acknowledge its debt to its own former 
employees. 

AMVETS fully supports the grant program for state veterans 
cemeteries and since its beginning in 1981 the program has award- 
ed 70 grants totaling $33 million to 17 States and the territory of 
Guam. We also fully support legislation that would increase the 
VA's cost share to a maximum of 65 percent to help encourage 
States to fund additional sites. 

Last Monday I visited the Keokuk, Iowa National Cemetery. It 
just happens to be near my home. It was one of the first 12 desig- 
nated as a national cemetery by President Lincoln in 1862. I'm 
pleased to report that the Director, Ms. Charlene Lewis, and her 
staff of four, have an absolutely beautiful facility. When I asked 
about her needs, her immediate reply was people. Under the cur- 
rent staffing situation, if one of her four maintenance people has a 
vacation or illness and there's a requirement to open more than 
one gravesite, Ms. Lewis gets out with a shovel and helps prepare 
the site and also close the grave if necessary. The National Ceme- 
tery in Keokuk will lose one FTEE this year through attrition and 
she's very concerned about her ability to maintain the current 
standards. That's a prime illustration of why we support the inde- 



21 

pendent budget recommendation of 55 new FTEE for the Cemetery 
System. 

NCS estimates that we will have increases in all areas of respon- 
sibility during the next fiscal year. Total acreage will hit over 
10,000, interments will reach 70,000, gravesites will now exceed two 
million, headstone requests will reach 320,000, issuances of Presi- 
dential Certificates will rise to 362,000. We urge the Administra- 
tion and the Congress to make every effort to provide the tools to 
do the job at the time when the demand for their services is con- 
tinuing to increase. 

AMVETS would also like to congratulate the Cemetery System 
on its outreach program to inform veterans of their entitlement to 
burial benefits. In 1987 the survey of veterans revealed that nearly 
a third were unaware of their right to be buried in a cemetery or 
receive payments for burial in state or private cemeteries. We 
heartily endorse NCS's public ceremonies program to help get the 
word out and to highlight the availability of sites in the National 
Cemetery System. 

Mr. Chairman, AMVETS was very gratified by Chairman Mont- 
gomery's favorable reply to our letter opposing a proposal by a part 
of the funeral industry to shift the costs of graveliners from the 
VA to the veteran survivors. We conducted a random poll of funer- 
al homes in the DC area and found that a graveliner similar to 
that provided by the VA would cost from $250.00 to $700.00 if pur- 
chased by the families from the funeral homes. VA states that it 
currently pays an average of $127.00 for a graveliner. 

Mr. Chairman, we recently observed Memorial Day to honor 
those who have died in service to the Nation. National holidays are 
a fitting tribute, but they are fleeting events. But a cemetery is not 
only a permanent memorial to those resting there, but it is also a 
constant reminder of the principles for which they wore the uni- 
form and died. These principles are the true occupants of each 
grave and part of our legacy to our children lies beneath each 
marker. Let us continue to provide our veterans and the principles 
they have served a fitting place of honor. 

That completes my statement. Thank you, sir. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Thank you. 

Any position on H.R. 821? 

Mr. Brinck. Yes. We fully support the concept of trjdng to pro- 
vide the 20 year Guard and reservist burial in the national ceme- 
tery. The problem is the cemetery isn't staffed nor funded to 
handle the current demand from the active duty veteran popula- 
tion. So, until the cemetery system is adequately funded and 
staffed and has burial sites sufficient to accommodate the increase 
in demand, we do not support the legislation. 

[The prepared statement of Mr. Brinck appears on p. 58.] 

Mr. Sangmeister. Mr. Dupree from the Paralyzed Veterans of 
America. 

STATEMENT OF CLIFTON E. DUPREE 

Mr. Dupree. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, on 
behalf of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, I want to thank you 
for inviting us today to testify. 



22 

PVA supports the proposal to create burial eligibility to mem- 
bers of the Select Reserve or National Guard who have served 20 
years. 

Mr. Sangmeister. I'm sorry, you said supports? 

Mr. DuPREE. Provided they have served on active duty. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Oh, I'm sorry. Okay. I wanted to get it 
straight. This presently is the situation, is it not? I mean that's 
current law. 

Mr. DuPREE. Right. Current law says 2 years of active duty serv- 
ice for those who enter after September 7, 1980. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. 

Mr. Burton. So, until they change those rules. 

Mr. Dupree. For over 200 years, the Nation has provided suitable 
final resting places for the men and women who have served our 
Armed Forces. This tradition must be protected and continued. To 
do otherwise would break a longstanding national commitment and 
demean the sacrifices of our veterans. It's the position of the PVA 
that the national cemeteries must be maintained in a manner be- 
fitting of those national shrines, to maintain a park-like beauty 
and serenity expected by the loved ones of those interred. Re- 
sources must be directed to the growing permanent acreage of the 
NCS, its infrastructure of historic buildings and roads, major equip- 
ment needs and needs for increase in staffing in the field. 

In the next few years, many of our national cemeteries will be 
closed because of lack of burial space, thereby denying many veter- 
ans the opportunity for interment in a national cemetery. This sit- 
uation must be weighed along with the additional demands that 
will be placed upon the system if members of the Select Reserve 
and National Guard are extended the burial benefit. Every effort 
should be made to keep our national cemeteries open as long as 
possible. 

PVA supports the planning efforts directed towards the acquisi- 
tion of lands adjacent to national cemeteries and the appropriation 
of funds to buy appropriate acreage if offered for sale. 

For many years, the National Cemetery System has had to 
depend upon the charitable donations of the community and veter- 
ans groups to secure adequate lands to keep cemeteries open. The 
State Cemetery Grants Program plays an important role in provid- 
ing burial space to veterans and their eligible dependents. These ef- 
forts alone will not adequately provide the final needs of all veter- 
ans. Many States, because of resource constraints, cannot partici- 
pate in the program. It's important to remember that entitlement 
to the burial in a national cemetery may be the only veterans ben- 
efit used after honorably serving our Nation. 

The primary responsibility falls upon the Federal Government to 
provide for the final resting place for all eligible veterans who have 
honorably served our Nation. It is only fitting that veterans of this 
Nation be laid to rest near their family and loved ones. PVA con- 
tinues to advocate for an open national cemetery within reasonable 
driving distance of each major veterans population center and a 
state veterans cemetery in every state. 

PVA continues to support having mandatory spending accounts 
for all costs associated with providing benefits. These include the 
cost of acquiring sufficient cemetery space, constructing cemeteries 



23 

and maintaining them properly. PVA would like to recognize and 
thank the administrators of Arlington National Cemetery and the 
members of the American Battle Monument Commission for their 
efforts to provide excellent support services to the veterans of this 
Nation. 

We encourage this committee to engage in aggressive oversight 
of a National Cemetery System and by doing so ensure that the 
veterans who have served this country will be given the honor and 
dignity they so richly deserve. 

Mr. Chairman, such concern has enabled VA to become increas- 
ingly responsive to the burial needs of veterans and their families. 
This concludes my testimony. I'll be glad to answer any questions 
you may have. 

[The prepared statement of Mr. Dupree appears on p. 63.] 

Mr. Sangmeister. Now let's go to the VFW. 

STATEMENT OF DENNIS M. CULLINAN 

Mr. CuLLiNAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

On behalf of the 2.2 million members of the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars, I wish to thank you for inviting us to participate in today's 
important hearing. The VFW remains committed to the proposition 
that all veterans should have convenient access to a national ceme- 
tery so that they are not denied this final veterans benefit. Also 
under discussion today will be a legislative initiative, H.R. 821, 
along with the operation of Arlington National Cemetery and the 
American Battle Monuments Commission and we are pleased to 
comment on these important areas as well. 

Mr. Chairman, I'm just going to extract briefly from my written 
statement. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Sure. 

Mr. CuLLiNAN. With respect to the National Cemetery System, 
the VFW thinks that it's a well-run enterprise. VA NCS is doing a 
good job. There have been problems. There was a problem out in 
California, for example, a couple years back. But these problems 
rest primarily with the lack of an adequate funding. Right now 
there's a $3.1 million equipment backlog and it's estimated it will 
be $4.8 million by 1994. It's time for NCS to initiate some critical 
maintenance projects within the cemetery system and they can't do 
any of these things unless they have sufficient funding. That's 
where the problems, we think, primarily lie with NCS. 

In accordance with the independent budget, we recommend a 
funding level of $80 million for fiscal year 1994. Whether they'll 
get it or not is another matter, but it's something that we view as 
being very much needed. 

Now, with respect to H.R. 821, legislation introduced by Con- 
gressman Bonilla, this bill would essentially open up the national 
cemetery system to Reservists and National Guard who are not 
currently deemed to be veterans under Title 38 and we oppose this 
bill. Our opposition rests primarily with the philosophical point of 
view. We think that there is a key distinction between active duty 
service and reserve service. Indeed the Reserve and National 
Guard is an integral part of our national defense equation, but 
nonetheless there's a distinction to be drawn between those that 



24 

serve in active duty and those who don't. I mean those reservists 
who served in Lebanon and Grenada in the Persian Gulf are 
deemed to be veterans under current law and are entitled to the 
full array of veterans' benefits under VA. 

We'd note, of course, the other problem attendant to this propos- 
al, the expense. The space within the VA Cemetery System is dwin- 
dling. It's under funded at the time and that poses an additional 
problem. But our primary objection rests with the philosophical 
point that there's a difference between active duty service and Re- 
serve service. 

With respect to the Arlington National Cemetery, again we 
think it's a well run facility. We'd note, however, that it's running 
out of land. We'd like to see some land donated by Fort Myer to 
the cemetery so that more veterans could be buried there. We also 
think that the Battle Monuments Commission is a well run entity. 
We think they're doing a fine job and we don't really have any key 
problems with their operation. 

That concludes my statement, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. 

[The prepared statement of Mr. CuUinan appears on p. 70.] 

Mr. Sangmeister. We'll recognize Frank Buxton. 

Mr. Buxton. Good morning. I'm Frank Buxton, Deputy Director 
of National Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission of the 
American Legion. 

On behalf of the American Legion, I would like to introduce to 
the committee Mr. John Vitikacs, Assistant Director for Resource 
Development of the National Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation 
Commission. Mr. Vitikacs is a Vietnam veteran and has been with 
the American Legion in Washington Headquarters for about 10 
years in various capacities. He has been an invaluable asset to the 
Legion as a resource specialist providing background information 
for most of our congressional testimony. 

Mr. Vitikacs will present the American Legion's testimony today 
as his first testimony before a Congressional committee. 

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. John Vitikacs. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Thank you for the introduction and welcome 
to the committee. 

STATEMENT OF JOHN R. VITIKACS 

Mr. Vitikacs. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. 

The American Legion appreciates the opportunity to comment on 
issues of importance to the National Cemetery System. National 
cemeteries are national shrines and should be maintained in such 
a manner that all visitors immediately recognize the dedication 
and commitment afforded to our deceased comrades in arms by a 
grateful Nation. 

Currently there are several topics related to the National Ceme- 
tery System that require prompt and favorable action on behalf of 
the Congress. The first subject is the ever-increasing fiscal require- 
ments of the National Cemetery System. Each year an additional 
60,000 plus gravesites are added to the National Cemetery System 
for perpetual maintenance and upkeep. Even though a sum of ap- 
proximately $13 million has been added to NCS funding over the 



25 

past few years, that increase only allowed the system to catch up to 
required funding levels. Never again should it be permitted to 
allow operations funding to deteriorate to the point that proper 
basic maintenance cannot be maintained. 

Secondly, current equipment requirements are seriously under 
funded. There is today an equipment backlog of approximately $5.8 
million. Mr. Chairman, this figure is not getting any smaller. With 
adequate equipment, manpower requirements and operational costs 
could be reduced. 

Although more and more veterans are being buried in national 
cemeteries, acreage available to bury veterans is not expanding at 
an acceptable rate. Up to ten new national cemeteries are require 
to accommodate changing veteran demographics to meet the ex- 
pected increase in veteran burials well into the next century and to 
compensate for the rapid utilization of existing national cemetery 
space. 

The American Legion believes the issue of where to expand new 
national cemeteries is a matter that needs to be resolved and 
funded. We also believe that VA should make a larger commitment 
to expanding the State Cemetery Grants Program and expand ex- 
isting national cemeteries wherever possible. Further, we urge the 
speedy release of the recent Logistics Management Institute study 
on future expansion requirements of the National Cemetery 
System. 

The American Legion supports H.R. 821 which would provide full 
burial benefits to National Guard and Reservist retirees. H.R. 821, 
although not supported by VA due to cemetery space and funding 
limitations, would provide a fitting tribute to the men and women 
who have honorably served this Nation for so long. The Legion also 
supports legislation which would change the VA state contributory 
funding formula for construction of state veteran cemeteries and 
provide a minimum $150.00 plot allowance for every veteran burial 
in a state cemetery. In the long run, this proposal would save VA 
resources. 

Mr. Chairman, that concludes our testimony. Thank you. 

[The prepared statement of Mr. Vitikacs appears on p. 75.] 

Mr. Sangmeister. And we wind up with Richard Johnson from 
the Non Commissioned Officers Association. Mr. Johnson. 

STATEMENT OF RICHARD JOHNSON 

Mr. Johnson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll try and be brief 
this morning in that I will largely echo what many of my col- 
leagues have said here. 

First, NCOA is in strong support of H.R. 821 to authorize the 
burial of retired and retirement eligible reservists in national 
cemeteries. Reserve components of the United States are no longer 
a practice organization that carries wooden rifles and works only 
with plastic models. They carry a substantial mission responsibility 
and the United States could no longer survive without reserve com- 
ponents as active participants in the Armed Forces. Few people 
know that all the air support provided in operations in Grenada 
was provided by Reserve units, drilling weekend warriors. I person- 
ally have a friend that had 49 missions in Vietnam and never 



26 

served a day on active duty in the Armed Forces, but flew 49 C-141 
missions out of Norton Air Force Base in California during the 
Vietnam era to Tan Sunut. 

I know of people within the Non Commissioned Officers Associa- 
tion who flew missions without ever being activated, just during 
their weekend drill period or during a combined weekend drill 
phase or two week summer training that served and flew missions 
in and out of Saudi Arabia or to Europe or to other areas of the 
world in support of Operation Desert Storm. People who have 
never been on active duty in the Armed Forces, yet they wear the 
medals and they have the service that qualifies them as veterans. 
Certainly this is legislation that should be passed by the commit- 
tee. 

NCOA has two areas of concern with regard to the operation of 
the National Cemetery System, both of which were expanded on by 
the American Legion. One is the goal of the Administration seems 
to be to open nine new cemeteries by the year 2000. That is a goal 
that was set in the 1987 Cemetery Study. Maybe it's my imagina- 
tion, Mr. Chairman, but it seemed to me that there was some pos- 
turing going on this morning by the Department of Veterans Af- 
fairs with regard to the cemetery study, the follow-up cemetery 
study that is due to the committee this year. The posturing in- 
cludes not releasing the LMI study but indeed polishing the LMI 
study with their own facts and figures. I suspect that's going to 
suggest that maybe they don't need nine new cemeteries as was de- 
termined in 1987. 

In any event, having that concern, I think it would be in the best 
interest of the veterans community and I think the committee 
would benefit tremendously from having that LMI study released 
now. 

And, hopefully, we will be able to see some similarity between 
that and what the VA ultimately comes up with but I think the 
raw data available on the LMI study would be very, very helpful to 
those of us in the veterans' community in determining where the 
national cemetery system should go in construction over the next 7 
years. 

I might also point out that by the VA's own time table it takes 6 
years to construct a cemetery and if they're going to have all nine 
of them done by the year 2000, next year is going to be awfully 
busy. 

Third is the area of equipment backlog. Congress was very gener- 
ous with the national cemetery system in fiscal year 1992 providing 
a $10 million bonus to help retire an equipment backlog, which at 
that time was about $12.7 million. Limited appropriation for 1993 
and some changes in the operation of the national cemetery system 
have increased the backlog carryover. What at the end of fiscal 
year 1993 was intended to be a $2.6 million carryover in equipment 
backlog has now grown to $5.8 million. 

Mr. Chairman, if this is not resolved, it will continue to grow and 
could become, in fact, a debilitating burden on the national ceme- 
tery system the same way as the medical equipment backlog has 
become, in fact, a debilitating burden on the Veteran's Health 
Administration. 



27 

We urge the committee to do all that it can to resolve that equip- 
ment backlog. 

Finally, Mr. Chairman, we have made in our statement a plea to 
the committee for relaxed language in the waivers area for burial 
in the national cemetery system. At one point last year NCOA 
spent 43 days trying to get a woman buried with her child, a child 
that predeceased her in the national cemetery. She was no longer 
qualified for burial because she had subsequently divorced the vet- 
eran. Technically, that wasn't an OBRA 90 restriction, but there 
are a number of areas where you can have a family member buried 
in a cemetery and then subsequently other family members will 
become ineligible for burial either by divorce or remarriage under 
OBRA 90 and so forth. 

I guess the point here, Mr. Chairman, is that we would like to 
see the committee instruct the VA that the waiver authority in 
2406 should be a generous waiver authority, that they should be 
looking for reasons to grant the waivers to allow families to be 
buried together instead of looking for reasons not to. Waivers are 
only requested about 200 times a year and we see no reason why 
190 of those shouldn't be approved. Instead, the VA is currently ap- 
proving about 20 of the 200 per year. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Well, in that regard, Mr. Johnson, what I sug- 
gest you do is direct a letter to me as the chairman of the subcom- 
mittee asking that there be some review of that policy. I'll be 
happy to take that up with the VA myself and see if we can't get 
some help and figures for you on that. But give it to me in writing. 
Would you do that, please? 

Mr. Johnson. Most assuredly. Thank you. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. Well, to summarize, again, I appreciate 
everybody being here. You certainly represent your organizations 
well and you're available here when we need information. 

As far as the National Cemetery System is concerned, listening 
to all of you, the impression I get is that things are okay. But, like 
everjrthing else, there's always room for improvement. 

We're getting down to where priorities are a big item for this 
Congress, but if we have to choose between expanding existing na- 
tional cemeteries and creating new ones, does anyone have any 
thoughts about which is a better way to go? 

Mr. Johnson. Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Yes. 

Mr. Johnson. That's largely an issue of geography. Certainly 
there are some cemeteries now that are too large in size to be used 
by the year 2050. So, if we're talking about expanding things like 
Fort Snelling, which is already huge, or Northern California, which 
is also huge, we would rather see new construction done. 

With regard to something like Arlington National Cemetery, 
which is a separate issue, obviously anything that could be done to 
expand Arlington would be well received and welcomed. But again, 
those are going to have to be case by case determinations based on 
how many veterans would be served. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Personally, I think ahead of ever5i;hing we 
have to keep the maintenance of the cemeteries up because what 
good is to be creating new ones or expanding existing ones and let- 



28 

ting them deteriorate. So I think that's probably the number one 
priority. 

Turning to H.R. 821, those of you that are opposed to the legisla- 
tion — what about the position taken by Mr. Buyer, and I think 
there's some merit to it, that we're all one big family now. We're 
calling on reservists more than we ever have before and that 
maybe philosophically we shouldn't be so opposed to persons 
having to serve the minimum amount of time on active duty in 
order to qualify for benefits. Does anyone want to speak to that? 

Mr. Brinck. Sure. I don't think there's anybody that would 
argue against the total force concept. Those of us who — I put 21 in 
the Navy and we had it beat in our heads every day that reservists 
are our friends, not our enemies. And they were, in the aviation 
community, highly regarded. So it's not a question of considering 
them second class DOD employees. 

I think AMVETs' opposition, and I hope I qualified it enough by 
saying that given the sufficient funding and resources that we 
would support it if the NCS was able to handle the extra workload. 

Mr. Buyer's point is well taken. However, despite the fact that, 
yes, they wear all the same medals and, yes, they certainly perform 
peacetime missions or wartime missions while not serving on active 
duty, NCS is still given limited — a finite amount of resources. I 
think we have to prioritize. And it's unfortunate that someone who 
serves 20 years and doesn't meet the current law criteria isn't able 
to be buried in the cemetery. The answer to that is let's give the 
cemetery system the resources to handle the extra load. 

Just one example, near your home district, Quincy, IL, has a 
cemetery that currently has seven grave sites left. It's serviced by 
the Keokuk office. Are we going to put seven guardsmen or reserv- 
ists in there or are we going to save those seven slots for active 
duty personnel, or are we going to send those active duty personnel 
to — I guess Keokuk would be the next closest site for a national 
cemetery to the Quincy area veterans. 

So, it's a question of resources. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Yes. 

Mr. CuLLiNAN. Mr. Chairman, the only thing I would add to that, 
Mr. Buyer I think was also talking about creating a kind of two 
tiered system for burial. He mentioned that where such reservists 
wold only be entitled to burial in a newly opened cemetery or new 
cemetery. 

Mr. Sangmeister. I think he was taking that position based on if 
availability is a problem, then maybe we ought to restrict it to new 
cemeteries and not use up what we've got left in the old cemeter- 
ies. I think that's what he was referring to. 

Mr. CuLLiNAN. The only thing — I don't have it worked out com- 
pletely here, but it strikes me as being somewhat problematic 
having that service. In a sense you'd be creating kind of a cast of 
half veteran then. They'd be entitled to a certain veteran's benefit 
but only under certain situations and it just strikes me as being 
problematic. And I can't really define it any more specifically than 
that right now. 

And the other thing, the total force concept, I would just add 
that is a concept whose realization is still very much in the 
making. And I think it would be very helpful indeed if it's a little 



29 

bit more tied down, defined. If it becomes more of a reality, then 
we could better address it. Right now we're talking about what re- 
servists may one day become as opposed to what they were, the toy 
soldiers with the plastic guns, and what they are at the moment. 
And I don't think anyone quite understands what that is. So I 
think that that's something that we could look at again later on. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Have any of you had any experience or prob- 
lems with what we were talking about earlier, with the copyrights 
of the national monuments whereby veterans' organizations at- 
tempt to reproduce or use the monuments for commercial pur- 
poses? Any of your members in any of your organizations raise 
that issue? It has not been? Well, that's interesting because 

Mr. Brinck. It's interesting since those are raised, those are con- 
structed with private funds and I would assume that all of our 
memberships probably contributed a significant amount of those 
funds that the artists or craftsmen in question would then turn 
around and say to our members that we're not entitled to benefit 
from those designs. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Well, that's exactly what I was thinking. I 
thought it was 

Mr. Brinck. I think that's a pretty narrow view on their part, 
especially since the Colonel seemed to dodge the question of what 
their fees were going to be involved. You didn't get a very direct 
answer out of him and although it sounds like it's a significant 
amount of money, and I think they ought to be satisfied with what 
they're getting. 

Mr. Sangmeister. And I would certainly think so, too. At least 
we've jogged him on this area. Of course, now we hear that in the 
case of the Korean War Memorial that if we do anjrthing now to 
jeopardize the contract that's in negotiation or been negotiated 
with these people, that we're going to set the memorial back for 
years. 

I think when the World War II Memorial gets put together that's 
something the VSOS ought to think more about. Why should there 
be royalty rights for the artists when they have been paid millions 
of dollars to design the memorials? 

Mr. Johnson. Well, Mr. Chairman, if there are royalty rights 
and so forth, maybe the law ought to direct that those royalties be 
directed to the perpetual care of the memorial. 

Mr. Sangmeister. That's a unique thought. I hadn't thought of 
that. 

Mr. Johnson. But, I'm not sure. I think that's what's happened 
at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I think everything that they 
collect down there goes towards the perpetual care of the memori- 
al. And I think it would be only appropriate to do that for other 
memorials that are constructed in and around Washington. 

Mr. Sangmeister. That's a good thought. 

Well, that's all I have. Nothing from the Minority side. Okay. 

Again, gentlemen, thank you very much for being here and your 
patience today. And we appreciate your cooperation on this issue. 

Mr. Sangmeister. The last panel that we have is Colonel Charles 
Schreiber from the National Guard Association and Mr. Michael 
Cline, Retired Master Sergeant from the Enlisted Association of 
the National Guard. 



71-287 0-93-2 



30 

Gentlemen, welcome to the committee and we're willing to hear 
testimony on anj^hing in light of what you've heard here today. 
Specifically, I guess, we want to get your position on H.R. 821 and 
why you think it is good legislation or not. So, Colonel, why don't 
we start with you. 

STATEMENT OF COL. CHARLES G. SCHREIBER (RET.), DIRECTOR, 
LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITIES, NATIONAL GUARD ASSOCIATION; 
MSGT MICHAEL CLINE (RET.), EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ENLIST- 
ED ASSOCIATION OF THE NATIONAL GUARD 

Colonel ScHREiBER. Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman. We're the smallest 
panel and, hopefully, we'll take the least amount of time. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. 

Colonel ScHREiBER. I would like to talk to a few of the issues that 
were discussed today and maybe clarify or expand on a couple of 
them. 

First of all, before I even start to touch on an issue that was 
brought up earlier this morning, I'm a retired regular Air Force of- 
ficer. I had 30 years active duty, and have now worked for the Na- 
tional Guard about 15 years of my life. So, I've seen both sides of it. 

A couple of comments on the testimony by the representative 
from the VFW. He talked about the total force "concept." The total 
force concept was developed in 1971. The total force policy was ap- 
proved in 1973. So we've been acting as a total force for 20 some 
years. It's not a concept that's going to start next year. 

He also talked about the folks that either served in Panama, So- 
malia or other areas as already being veterans. The only ones that 
I know of that are veterans are the ones who were called up by 
Presidential call up for Desert Shield and Desert Storm. So the 
folks that are over right now in Somalia, or flying in and out of 
Somalia or Yugoslavia, or served in Panama are not veterans be- 
cause they were on a different status at the time and didn't serve 
for 2 years active duty. So they were in a wartime situation but 
have not been given veteran status and do not fall into the veter- 
an's status category. 

Regarding the number of people that we're talking about, I have 
to draw on about three other sources: the report from the Congres- 
sional Budget Office last year; the 6th Quadrennial Review of Mili- 
tary Compensation from about 5 years ago; and the most recent 
DOD report on numbers of personnel that have 20 or more years 
reserve service and are eligible for retirement. Those numbers are 
something like 280,000 total Guard and Reserve members with over 
20 years of service right now. We would estimate about half of 
those are non-prior service people that don't have 2 years active 
duty already. So about half of those folks probably are already eli- 
gible for this entitlement based on having served for 2 years or 
more. 

The CBO last year estimated that about 6,900 of those folks 
would die every year and that about 12 percent of those might then 
opt for burial in a national cemetery. I think what 

Mr. Sangmeister. That's 12 percent of 6,900? 

Colonel Schreiber. Yes, sir. So you're talking about 800 and 
some. 



31 

The thing that I think they overlooked is that probably half of 
those are already eligible. So you're talking maybe 400. That gets 
back very close to what the 6th QRMC predicted about 5 years ago 
when they said 365 additional burials a year would result from ap- 
proval of something like H.R. 821. So we're talking on the high side 
of 800, which I doubt and probably on the more accurate side about 
300 to 400. Something in that ball park. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Okay. 

Colonel ScHREiBER. Another issue that was touched on very brief- 
ly but not discussed was the State cemetery grant system. I talked 
to the Adjutant General of Vermont this morning who is in testify- 
ing over on the Senate side to the Armed Services Committee. 
They are opening up a new state cemetery. He's responsible for 
management of that and oversight of it, but he can't bury any of 
his Guard members in it because it receives grant funds from the 
Federal Government. They are not veterans, they cannot be buried 
in their State cemetery. So I think not only is that a problem, but 
it seems to me it ought to be an opportunity. And if we could 

Mr. Sangmeister. This is a state funded cemetery? 

Colonel ScHREiBER. It's a state cemetery with federal grant. 

Mr. Sangmeister. With a federal grant. 

Colonel Schreiber. If it's partially funded with federal funds, a 
Guard and Reserve member is not eligible for burial in it. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Well, a Guard member from that state could 
not 

Colonel Schreiber. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sangmeister. I'm sorry. Go ahead. 

Colonel Schreiber. What I'm suggesting is that since you have a 
shortfall in space, that if we could pass H.R. 821 and then encour- 
age the States to expand their state cemetery system, we would 
have additional space that everyone would be eligible to be buried 
in. 

I think that pretty well covers it. We are certainly, as Dick John- 
son said, a very active community in the last 10 to 15 years. I think 
General Conaway, who is the Chief of National Guard Bureau, 
when he testifies says he has 3,000 to 4,000 people on duty some- 
where around the world everyday. So there are Guard men and 
women that are serving this country everyday in every kind of sit- 
uation that you can think of; whether it's refueling airplanes that 
were going to strike Libya a few years ago, whether it's some of the 
first people on the ground in Panama because they happened to be 
there at the time on annual training, and we had some units down 
there in that category, we are involved in everything that the U.S. 
military does on almost a day-to-day basis. And we think that 20 
years of that type of service ought to qualify those people for burial 
in the national cemeteries. 

Thank you, sir. 

[The prepared statement of Colonel Schreiber appears on p. 80.] 

Mr. Sangmeister. Mr. Cline 

STATEMENT OF MICHAEL CLINE 

Sergeant Cline. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to 
again appear before this committee. On behalf of the enlisted mem- 



32 

bers of the Army and Air National Guard, EANGUS thanks you 
for conducting these hearings. 

Mr. Chairman, Uke my counterpart from the Officers Associa- 
tion, I too am a veteran during the Vietnam era and I went on to 
serve 22 additional years in the Army National Guard, State of 
Ohio. 

Mr. Chairman, as the active component continues to build down, 
more and more reliance, as you've heard today, is going to be 
placed on the National Guard and the Reserve component to pick 
up the slack. Today we have people in Bosnia, we have people 
flying missions into Somalia, we have the continuing efforts down 
in Panama; constant ongoing efforts by our Army and Air National 
Guard and other Reserve components to support the active compo- 
nent. 

This legislation has come before this committee and has passed 
successfully through the House. It is our understanding additional 
legislation similar to H.R. 821 will be forthcoming in the Senate. 

H.R. 821 has the support of the Military Coalition which repre- 
sents 24 major military organizations and veterans groups. 

Mr. Chairman, a lot of the controversy around this bill centers 
around the active duty commitment that a Reserve component 
places during this time. Over a 20 year period the typical National 
Guard soldier, who just drills on weekends and goes to weeks of 
annual training plus his other schools and that, spends an average 
of 60 days a year. And these are figures that were released by the 
Department of Defense, Reserve Affairs. Over a period of 20 years, 
and most Guardsmen who stay in the National Guard spend more 
than 20 years; most of them are there from 22 to 25 to 27 years, 
spends anywhere from 4-plus to 4% years of his time on active 
duty. 

This same active duty soldier in 1981 was changed where the 
active duty soldier had to have a commitment of 24 months on 
active duty to get this burial benefit. Now, on one hand we have an 
active component soldier who spends 2 years and we have a Re- 
serve component who has committed a quarter of his life, 4-plus 
years of active duty service over a 20 year period who is not eligi- 
ble for the same benefit. 

This brings about concern. Two and a half years ago our Reserve 
component forces were engaged in combat in the Middle East. Ev- 
erybody is well aware of the job that the National Guard and Re- 
serve did during this period of time. They responded with 99.9 per- 
cent of our people reported to active duty. 94.7 percent of those 
people deployed. 

Mr. Chairman, less than a year ago 10,000 of our National 
Guardsmen were on the streets of LA in urban unrest, an equally 
dangerous situation. 

Less than 3 months ago 5,000 of our National Guardsmen were 
standing ready for a week's period of time to react to the verdict of 
the Rodney King case. And it just happens to be, Mr. Chairman, 
one of those 5,000 happens to be my oldest son, who spent 8 years 
on active duty with the U.S. Army and is now serving proudly in 
the California Army National Guard. 

Mr. Chairman, our people are not asking for a lot. They're only 
asking to be recognized for the amount of service that they have 



33 

committed to their country. And I'm sure, as Colonel Schreiber has 
mentioned, 365 burials a year at a cost as the House report stated 
would cost less than $500,000 a year between 1993 and 1997. That 
was House report 102-540 filed by this committee, the House Vet- 
erans' Affairs Committee. 

In that report it also stipulated that there would be cost added 
for burial with headstones, which was passed last year under HR 
939, the VA Home Loan Guarantee Bill that was slid into that bill, 
also the burial flag issue which was also put into that bill. So 
therefore that cost has been reduced. Earlier testimony today by 
the VA indicated that the cost included headstone markers. Again, 
this legislation was passed last year. 

The Enlisted Association of the National Guard applauds the ef- 
forts of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee for its continuing 
support of the enlisted men and women of the National Guard and 
the Reserve component. It is not the intent or desire of EANGUS 
to solicit veteran status for members of the selected Reserve who 
have not earned that distinction by definition of Title 38 of the 
United States Code. However, it is not an unreasonable request to 
pay recognition for those who have dedicated more than a quarter 
of their lives for service to their country by providing for interment 
in national cemeteries. 

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. 

[The prepared statement of Sergeant Cline appears on p. 86.] 

Mr. Sangmeister. Thank you both for coming. I think we've had 
this issue fully worked over today in hearing from you, all the vet- 
erans' organizations and from the VA. Members of this committee 
will have to decide on what action to take on H.R. 821. 

Again, I appreciate your being here today and giving us your 
views. 

I don't have any other questions to ask. As I say, it's a decision 
now that the committee is going to have to make whether we're 
going to move forward with this particular legislation. 

Mr. Cline, you mentioned that similar legislation will be intro- 
duced in the Senate. Is that correct? 

Sergeant Cline. The Senate, Senator Akaka from Hawaii is 
going to introduce similar legislation. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Is going to, because our records don't show 
anything of record over in the Senate. 

Sergeant Cune. No. Matter of fact, one of the members from the 
Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee is sitting here in the audience 
today, sir. And I reaffirmed with him this morning that Mr. Peter 
Dougherty from Senate Veterans' Affairs reaffirmed the fact, he's 
a staffer, is Senator Akaka is going to introduce that legislation. 
We have been working with his staff on that legislation. It was in- 
troduced last year, there was somewhat of a compromise between 
HR 939, the VA Home Loan Bill and the Burial Bill. Some things 
were rolled into the Home Loan Bill. But they are 

Mr. Sangmeister. But what form is it going to take this time? 

Sergeant Cline. Similar to the same legislation of H.R. 821, sir. 

Mr. Sangmeister. Of H.R. 821? Okay. 

All right, anjrthing else? That concludes the hearing today. 
Thank you, gentlemen, the subcommittee is adjourned. 

[Whereupon, the subcommittee was adjourned.] 



APPENDIX 



103d congress 
1st Session 



H.R.821 



To amend title 38, United States Code, to extend eligibility for burial in 
national cemeteries to persons who have 20 years of service creditable 
for retired pay as members of a reserve component of the Armed Forces. 



IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

February 4, 1993 

Mr. BoxiLLA (for himself and Mr. StenhOLAI) introduced the following bill; 

which was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs 



A BILL 

To amend title 38, United States Code, to extend eligibility 
for burial in national cemeteries to persons who have 
20 years of service creditable for retired pay as members 
of a reserve component of the Armed Forces. 

1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa- 

2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, 

3 SECTION 1. EUGIBILITY FOR BURIAL IN NATIONAL CEME- 

4 TERIES. 

5 (a) In General.— Section 2402 of title 38, United 

6 States Code, is amended — 

7 (1) by redesignating paragraph (6) as para- 

8 graph (7); and 

(35) 



36 



2 

1 (2) by adding after paragraph (5) the following 

2 new paragraph: 

3 "(6) Any person who at the time of death was entitled 

4 to retired pay under chapter 67 of title 10 or would have 

5 been entitled to retired pay under that chapter but for 

6 the fact that the person was under 60 years of age.". 

7 (b) Conforming Amendments. — (1) Section 

8 2301(e) of such title is amended by striking out "section 

9 2402(6)" and inserting in lieu thereof "section 2402(7)". 

10 (2) Section 2306(a)(2) of such title is amended by 

1 1 striking out " ( 6 ) " and inserting in lieu thereof " ( 7 ) " . 



•HR 821 IH 



37 
Prepared statement of Chairman Sangmeister 

The Subcommittee will be in order. I am pleased to welcome all of our witnesses 
to discuss the programs and operations of VA's National Cemetery System, Arling- 
ton National Cemetery and the American Battle Monuments Commission (AMBC). 

Let me first extend a personal note of congratulations, to Jerry W. Bowen, who is 
making his first appearance before the Subcommittee in his position as the newly 
confirmed Director of the National Cemetery System. I look forward to working 
closely with you and your staff. 

The VA's National Cemetery System consists of 114 national cemeteries, 59 of 
which are open to first family interments while 55 are closed except to eligible 
family members of those already buried. 

Over the next decade, we must focus our attention on identifying additional gra- 
vesites in our national cemeteries to meet the needs of an aging veteran population. 
Not only must we ensure that the honor of burial in our national shrines is avail- 
able to veterans, but we must strive to ensure that all graves are perpetually main- 
tained at the highest standards possible. 

In a 1987 report to Congress, required by P.L. 99-576, VA identified ten areas of 
the country most in need of a national cemetery based on veteran population not 
served by a national or state veterans cemetery. While only one of the ten, San Joa- 
quin Valley National Cemetery in California has opened, I look forward to receiving 
updates on the status of the remaining nine sites. I also want to encourage VA to 
move expeditiously and release the second report to Congress required by law. 

In reviewing the fiscal year 1994 budget request for the National Cemetery 
System, I note that the total request is slightly below the fiscal year 1993 appropria- 
tions level. While increased funding was provided in the last 2 fiscal years to help 
meet increased workloads in all areas, I question how NCS will continue to provide 
its services at the highest level with an essentially static budget. 

I look forward to hearing the testimony of my distinguished colleague, the Honor- 
able Henry Bonilla of Texas on H.R. 821, legislation he has introduced to amend 
title 38, United States Code, to extend eligibility for burial in a national cemetery to 
reservists and national guardsmen having 20 years of qualified service. 

Before I call on the Honorable Henry Bonilla, I would like to recognize the Rank- 
ing Minority Member, Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana. 



38 



TESTIMONY OF THE HONORABLE HENRY BONILLA 

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE OF THE 2 3RD DISTRICT OF TEXAS 

TO THE 

VETERANS AFFAIRS SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS 

JUNE 10, 1993 

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee on Housing and 
Memorial Affairs, I am pleased to be here with you this morning 
on behalf of over One Million reservists and their families in 
each and every congressional district across this great nation. 
I appreciate the opportunity to testify regarding legislation 
which I introduced earlier this session — H.R. 821. I 
introduced this bi-partisan bill along with Charlie Stenholm, Tom 
DeLay and Veterans Committee Members Frank Tejeda and Stephen 
Buyer. As you know, this legislation would extend eligibility 
for burial in national cemeteries to members of the reserve 
components of our Armed Forces who have at least 20 years of 
service creditable for retired pay. 

Under current law, the only members of the Reserve 
components of the Armed Forces who are eligible for burial in a 
national cemetery are those who: (1) die under honorable 
conditions while hospitalized or undergoing treatment at the 
expense of the United States, for injury or disease contracted or 
incurred while such member is performing active duty for 
training, inactive duty training or traveling to or from such 
duty; (2) are disabled or die from disease or injury incurred or 
aggravated in line of duty during or enroute to or from inactive 
duty training; (3) are disabled or die from injury (but not 
disease) incurred or aggravated in line of duty during or enroute 
to or from active duty training. 

However, members of the Reserves who have spent 2 years 
preparing both physically and mentally to defend our nation at a 
moments notice are not eligible for burial in the National 
Cemetery System. 

Mr. Chairman, as you are well aware, similar legislation, 
H.R. 4368, which provided the burial benefits specified in H.R. 
821 unanimously passed this subcommittee, the full committee and 
the full House of Representatives during the 102nd Congress. 

Mr. Chairman, Reservists have served this nation admirably 
over the years. Today, reservists participate routinely in 
operations such as: "Just Cause" and "Kindle Liberty" in Panama; 
"Urgent Fury" in Grenada; and "Desert Shield/Desert Storm" in the 
Persian Gulf. Reservists also stand ready to assist Americans 
when a disaster hits home such as Hurricane Andrew — after which 
we saw reserve forces maintaining law and order and providing 
humanitarian assistance in Southern Florida. 

These instances that I have just noted are only a few of the 
ways in which Reservists serve our nation. I believe that this 
dedicated service must be acknowledged and Reservists provided 
the benefit of burial in a National Cemetery. 

We should do as the members of the 102nd Congress did in 
recognizing that reservists who dedicate years to their country 
should be accorded burial rights in our national cemeteries. 
And, I would like to remind the Subcommittee of the comments of 
the distinguished Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, 
Sonny Montgomery, who, one year ago yesterday, on the floor of 
the House urged passage of HR 4368 — similar to today's HR 821. I 
would like to second Chairman Montgomery's statement of that day: 
"Mr. Chairman, I urge passage of this legislation." 



39 



Statement of the Honorable Jeny W. Bowen 

Director, National Cemetery System 

Before the House of Representatives Committee on Veterans' Affairs 

Subcommittee on Housing and Memorial Affairs 

June 10, 1993 

Good morning, Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of this Subcommittee. It 
is my pleasure to appear before you this morning to address the status of the 
National Cemetery System and to comment on H.R. 821, a bill to extend National 
Cemetery burial eligibility to persons with 20 years of service creditable for retired 
pay as members of a reserve component of the Armed Forces. Let me begin this 
morning by saying, Mr. Chairman, that this Subcommittee has always been a 
supporter of the National Cemetery System and this support has been greatly 
appreciated. I look forward to working with you in the future on issues of concern 
to both of us. 

You asked me to speak this morning on the operational needs of the National 
Cemetery System. Although I have been Director of the National Cemetery 
System for only a short period of time, I have had sufficient opportunity to meet 
with NCS area directors and several cemetery directors to discuss their views, 
recommendations, and concerns. I have been favorably impressed by the 
dedication and pride exhibited by these members of the National Cemetery 
System. It will be my privilege to serve with them in the years ahead. 

One of our main goals is to make the benefit of interment in a national cemetery 
available to as many veterans as possible. We have 114 national cemeteries 
located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Fifty-nine are open for 
burial, while fifty-five are closed to the casketed interment of a first family 
member. Our newest national cemetery, San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in 
northern California opened in June 1992. 

As a result of the aging of World War II and Korean War veterans, the demand for 
cemetery grave space will increase in coming years. This increased demand for 
service requires that the National Cemetery System's carefully manage existing 
resources and identify future opportunities to acquire additional burial space. This 
will be accomplished in four ways: (1) extend the service period of open national 



40 



cemeteries through the development of available space for cremated remains; (2) 
acquire land through purchase or donation to keep existing cemeteries open; (3) 
encourage States to provide additional gravesites through participation in the State 
Cemetery Grants Program; and ( 4) establish, when feasible, new national 
cemeteries to serve the needs of the veteran population. 

Progress has been made in planning for construction of cemeteries in large 
metropolitan areas currently underserved. Regarding the areas identified in VA's 
1987 report to Congress under Public Law 99-576 as being most in need of a 
national cemetery, the needs of one area are met by the San Joaquin Valley 
National Cemetery, and final Environmental Impact Statements have been 
completed or are expected to be completed for the remaining nine areas by early 
1994. Funding has been provided for land acquisition and master planning at four 
of these sites: Albany, Chicago, Cleveland, and Seattle, and master planning 
funds have been provided for Dallas. The second report to Congress required by 
Public Law 99-576 is currently under internal review. 

Our projections indicate that 1 1 of the 59 open national cemeteries will close to 
first family member interment before the year 2000, with an additional 13 
cemeteries closing before the year 2020 unless adjacent land is acquired. Those 
cemeteries which are projected to close are currently under internal review to 
determine the feasibility of extending their service life through acquisition of 
adjacent land. Four of the eleven cemeteries scheduled to close before the year 
2000 (Florence, South Carolina; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Biloxi, Mississippi; and 
Dayton, Ohio) have land acquisition in progress, and we are optimistic that we will 
be able to keep these cemeteries open into the 21st century. This effort will 
remain a priority. 

You have asked me to speak specifically to our operational needs, particularly in 
light of the current restrained fiscal environment. There are three main operational 
goals: (1) having the personnel to do the job; (2) having the equipment to do the 
job; and (3) doing the job of maintaining and repairing what we have. How can 
we accomplish these goals with a budget that is essentially remaining level while 
our rate of burial increases? The 1994 budget submission includes an increase of 
11 employees for the cemeteries. As you are aware, we have a backlog of 
equipment in need of replacement. By the end of Fiscal Year 1993, that backlog 



41 



will be reduced to $5.8 million. The National Cemetery System requested 
sufficient funding in FY 1994 to maintain the progress already made against the 
backlog. Accordingly, we will have enough functioning equipment to serve the 
cemeteries. As for maintenance, we believe the additional FTEE, the strides that 
have been made in the equipment backlog to date, and that intangible-the 
dedication of our employees-will permit us to maintain our cemeteries in the 
dignified manner expected by those we serve. 

I want to turn now to the issue of H.R. 821, which would extend eligibility for 
burial in national cemeteries to persons who have 20 years of service creditable 
for retired pay as members of a reserve component of the Armed Forces. VA has 
previously expressed opposition to similar proposals, noting that veterans benefits 
programs developed by Congress over the last four decades are generally not 
available to those individuals whose military service does not include actual active 
duty. We believe that extension of any veterans benefits to individuals who are 
prepared to serve on active duty, but have not actually done so, could have far- 
reaching implications. Considering the uncertainty of these implications, VA 
cannot endorse the expansion of eligibility for burial in a national cemetery for 
individuals whose military service does not meet the criteria established under 
current law. 

At this time, there are more than one million individuals in the Selected Reserve 
and more than five hundred thousand in the Individual Ready Reserve. We cannot 
estimate the long-term costs since we do not know the percentage of reservists 
who would seek burial in national cemeteries. The issue for us is not just the up- 
front burial costs, but the costs of perpetual care and the depletion of limited 
grave space for veterans of active duty and their dependents. There are also 
other budgetary implications for NCS if our service population is expanded to 
include 20-year reservists. We would experience additional requests for 
headstones/markers and Presidential Memorial Certificates. In addition to the 
cost of materials, increased program workload could result in the need for 
additional staff. For these reasons, Mr. Chairman, the Department of Veterans 
Affairs cannot support H.R. 821. 

This concludes my statement, and I would be pleased to address any questions 
you may have. 



42 



STATEMENT OF STEVEN DOLA 

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY (MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET), 

OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY (CIVIL WORKS) 

BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS 

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

ON THE OPERATION OF ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY 



MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE: 

INTRODUCTION 

I am pleased to be testifying before this subcommittee today on the 
operation of Arlington National Cemetery. I am the Deputy Assistant 
Secretary for (Management and Budget), Office of Assistant Secretary 
of the Army (Civil Works). Assisting me today is Mr. John C. Metzler, 
Jr., Superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery. We are appearing 
on behalf of the Secretary of the Army, who is responsible for the 
operation £ind maintenance of Arlington and Soldiers' and Airmen's 
Home National Cemeteries. 

My statement covers the following topics: 

> Fiscal Year 199'* Cemeterial Expenses, Army, Budget; 

> History and Present Day Significance; 

> Eligibility; 

> Arlington National Cemetery Historical Society; 

> Funerals; 

> Fiscal Year igg'* New Construction; 

> Previously Funded Construction; and 

> Status of Public Laws 100-322 and 101-237. 

FISCAL YEAR 199t CEMETERIAL EXPENSES, ARMY, BUDGET 

The budget request for Fiscal Year 199t is $12,738,000. The funds 
requested are sufficient to support the work force, to assure 
adequate maintenance of the buildings, and to acquire necessary 
supplies and equipment. The funds requested will finance operations 
at Arlington and Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemeteries. 
Construction funds in the amount of $4,193,000 are included in the 
budget for repair of the service complex, flagstone walks, roads, the 
roofs at the Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery lodge 
and Arlington's lodge t 1, design for the next increment of the 
Columbarium, installation of heavy duty doors at the visitors center 
and conversion of the air conditioning system at the administration 
building. The Fiscal Year 199t budget also includes funds to allow 
the Army to complete development of a new Master Plan, continue 
removal of old underground fuel storage tanks at Arlington, and to 
begin implementation of a graveliner program. 

HISTORY AND PRESENT DAY SIGNIFICANCE 

From its origin during the Civil War, Arlington National Cemetery 
has become a great national and military shrine. The 1,100 acre 
estate which comprises Arlington National Cemetery and the Fort 
Myer military reservation has a rich, historical background. It 
became the property of John Parke Custis in 1778 and descended to 
his son, George Washington Parke Custis, who built the hamdsome 
Greek revival mansion, now known as Arlington House. The grounds 
and house were owned by Robert E. Lee's family at the outbreak of 
the Civil War, when the house was taken over by the government for 
military purposes. 



43 



The establishment of the cemetery dates back to 1864. Over the 
years, representatives of all the Nation's wars and conflicts have 
been buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Among the more commonly 
known and deeply cherished memorials in Arlington National Cemetery 
are the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater and the Tomb of the Remains 
of Unknowns from World War I, World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam 
era. 

The area designated as section 27 at Arlington National Cemetery 
contains the graves of former residents of Freedmans' Village and 
members of the U.S. Colored Troops, as well as other orginal burials 
at Arlington. This area of the cemetery is no longer active for 
burials. Consistent with guidance contained in the Conference 
Committee Report accompanying Public Law 102-389, the 1993 Veterans 
Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies 
Appropriations Act, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure that 
Section 27 receives the proper care all areas in the cemetery should 
receive. 

During FY 1992 we have removed two large dead trees, raised branches 
and removed the dead wood from the remaining trees. We remove 
fallen branches and leaves from the grounds weekly, mow and trim 
the grass weekly, core-aerate the turf and spot hydroseed in the 
spring, apply turf fertilizer and broadleaf weed spray in the fall 
and spring, and apply limestone in the fall. Also during FY 1992 
a crew was dispatched Into the section to clean all of the up- 
right grave markers with a power washer, identify all broken/damaged 
markers or markers that were no longer legible. Replacement markers 
are starting to arrive. 

During FY 1993 we have begun to replace approximately 1,000 modem 
flat grave markers with marble upright headstones that are inscribed 
appropriately. This activity will proceed in stages and will require 
several years to complete. The entire infrastructure of the area 
will be reviewed as part of the Master Plan currently underway. An 
historic restoration of the original handwritten burial register is 
planned for during FY 1993. The area is now prominently mentioned 
in Arlington National Cemetery's brochure and has been added to 
the walking map. A commercially produced video which documents the 
history of Arlington and Section 27 and of the former residents of 
Freedmans' Village is now available to the public. 

Arlington National Cemetery has become this Nation's principal 
shrine to honor the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces. 
It is a visible reflection of America's appreciation for those who 
have made the ultimate sacrifice to maintain our freedom. During 
Fiscal Year 1992, Arlington National Cemetery accommodated approxi- 
mately 4 million visitors, making Arlington one of the most visited 
historic sites in the National Capitol Region. In addition to the 
thousands of funerals, with military honors, held there each year, 
hundreds of non-funeral ceremonies are conducted to honor those 
who rest in the cemetery. Thousands of visitors, both foreign and 
American, visited Arlington in Fiscal Year 1992 to participate in 
about 1,900 non-funeral ceremonies. I am proud to report that, after 
51 years, the remains of Ignace Jan Paderewski, the Polish pianist, 
composer, and statesman, have been returned to his native Poland. 
A ceremony was conducted in Arlington in conjunction with that 
repatriation. 



ELIGIBILITY 

There has been no recent change in the interment eligibility 
criteria for Arlington National Cemetery. These criteria are stated 
in 32 CFR 553.15. The following categories of decedent are generally 
eligible: 

> Members of the Armed Forces who die while serving on active 
duty. 

> Former members of the Armed Forces who have retired with 20 
or more years of active service or reserves. 



44 



> Honorably discharged veterans who have held certain high 
government positions. 

> Honorably discharged veterans who have been awarded either 
the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air 
Force Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star or the Purple 
Heart . 

> Honorably discharged veterans separated prior to October 1 , 
1949, for medical reasons with a service connected disability rated 
at 30 percent or more. 

> Family members such as spouses and children also are 
eligible under certain circumstances. 

In addition to the above, any honorably discharged veteran whose 
remains have been cremated is eligible for inurnment in the 
Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium. 



FUNERALS 

In Fiscal Year 1992, there were 2,962 interments and 1,277 
inurnments; and 3.500 interments and 1,300 inurnments are estimated 
in Fiscal Year 1993- 

Inurnment activities in the Columbarium continue to increase. 
In 1980, the first year of operation, there were 657 inurnments. 
Because of the advanced age of World War I and World War II 
Veterans, inurnments are now averaging approximately 1,300 per 
year. At this rate, all available space in the existing Columbarium 
will be exhausted in FY 1998. Funds in the amount of $520,000 have 
been included in the FY 199t Budget request to begin design of the 
next increment of the Columbarium. 

At the end of Fiscal Year 1992, there were 192,368 used gravesites 
to accommodate 214,109 interments. The total gravesite capacity 
is 268,089) leaving 75,721 gravesites available. Current projections 
indicate that all available gravesites will be used by the year 
2025. The Department of the Army is cognizant of this projected 
closing date and remains alert to such possibilities as may present 
themselves for expansion of the capacity of the cemetery. 



ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

In September 1991, the Arlington National Cemetery Historical 
Society, a non-profit corporation incorporated in April 1990 under 
the laws of the District of Columbia, submitted a formal request 
for recognition as a private organization to operate on Arlington's 
grounds. Although the Army appreciates the laudable objectives of 
the Arlington National Cemetery Historical Society and the 
dedication of its individual members, we decided that at this time 
it would not be in the best interests of Arlington National Cemetery 
to recognize the society as an entity to operate on cemetery 
grounds. 



FISCAL YEAR 1994 NEW CONSTRUCTION 
Master Plan 



Arlington must develop a new Master Plan. The Fiscal Year 1994 
request includes $500,000 to complete the plan which is estimated to 
cost $1,000,000. The new plan will address projected improvements 
for the next 30 years, including expansion of the capacity of 
Arlington National Cemetery and development of out-year construction 
projects. The original 1967 Master Plan consisted of 28 projects. Of 
the 28, 25 projects are completed. The West Boundary wall project, 
which has been partially funded, is not completed. The two unstarted 
projects are, one, replacement of the Custis Walk; and, two, the 
development of 52 acres of land in the cemetery for burial purposes. 



45 



Removal Of Underground Fuel Storage Tanks 

There are 14 known underground fuel storage tanks located throughout 
the cemetery. All of these tanks need to be tested to determine 
if they are still serviceable. Some of these tanks are no longer 
in use and need to be removed. During the removal process any soil 
that is contaminated will have to be removed and the area left 
clean. The Fiscal Year 1991 request provides $350,000 to continue 
the process of evaluation and tank removal. Four tanks have been 
removed so far during Fiscal Year 1993- 

Service Complex 

A project is being requested to renovate Arlington National 
Cemetery's service complex. This facility is the staging area for 
the personnel who maintain the cemetery and the field equipment. 
The facility is over 20 years old and has not been upgraded. 
Electrical, heating and ventilating, air-conditioning and safety 
systems need to be installed; and the complex requires painting and 
minor repairs. The estimated cost of this project is $600,000 and 
is included in the FY 1994 Budget request. 



PREVIOUSLY FUNDED CONSTRUCTION 
Marble Restoration Project 

In Fiscal Year 1992, the President's Budget requested, and the 
Congress appropriated, $4.8 million to repair rainwater leaks at the 
Memorial Amphitheater. In FY 1993 $4-5 million was appropriated for 
a Marble Restoration project to be undertaken in conjunction with 
the Rainwater Leaks Repair project. The combined project is 60$ 
design complete and contract award is forecast for September 1993. 
Work is scheduled to be completed in August 1995. 

Facility Maintenance Complex 

The new maintenance shops and warehouse facility requested in Fiscal 
Year 1991 is currently being designed and will replace buildings 
constructed in 1930. These were originally constructed as horse 
stables and converted to a cemetery maintenance facility in the late 
1940s. They were not designed to house or service modern cemetery 
equipment; consequently, they are inadequate for those purposes. 
Moreover, the existing facility did not meet the current OSHA 
standards. 

Recently, the concept design was reviewed preparatory to the 
initiation of final design. It was found that the available funds 
would not be sufficient to construct the required facility as 
presently designed. The concept design was therefore reexamined to 
identify and eliminate features whose utility no longer could be 
justified in light of their cost. The remaining features were 
prioritized, so as to enable us to proceed within the funds 
available with construction of a fully usable facility. The features 
not being proposed at this time would be deferred for later 
consideration, constituting a second phase of the project. 

Construction of the new maintenance facility is forecast to begin in 
August of 1993. The facility maintenance complex will consist of 
work and storage areas for three divisions (Facility Maintenance, 
Horticulture, and Field Operations), in three separate buildings. 
There will be another building for warehouse operations and a 
building for the administrative functions associated with all of 
these operations. In addition, the project will include a vehicle 
storage area, as well as employee break rooms, locker and shower 
rooms, and meeting rooms. It will meet current building standards, 
and will be located so as to facilitate the efficient performance of 
the daily operations of the cemetery. 



46 



STATUS OF PUBLIC LAWS 100-322 AND 101-237 

Public Law 100-322 authorizes the Secretary of the Army to provide 

graveliners for graves in Arlington National Cemetery. The FY 199i» 

Budget request includes $190,000 to begin implementation of this 
program. 

Public Law 101-237 requires the Secretary of the Army to designate 

an appropriate area within Arlington National Cemetery for the 

unmarked interment of ashes. We are pleased to report that an 

appropriate site within Section 27 of Arlington National Cemetery 

has been identified, a plan for the site has been developed, and the 

purchase of trees, shrubs and benches is underway. We also plan to 

complete a walkway through the site next year. 

This completes my statement, Mr. Chairman. We will be pleased to 
respond to questions from the Subcommittee. 



47 



BEFORE THE 

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS 

JUNE 10, 1993 



The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) welcomes the opportunity 
to provide current information to the Subcommittee on its operations. 

The principal functions of the Commission are to commemorate the achievements 
and sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces where they have served since 
April 6, 1917 through the erection and maintenance of suitable memorial 
shrines; to design, construct, operate and maintain permanent American 
military cemeteries in foreign countries; to control the design and 
construction on foreign soil of U.S. military monuments and markers by other 
U.S. citizens and organizations both public and private; and to encourage 
these organizations and individuals to maintain adequately the monuments and 
markers that they have erected. 

Presently, ABMC administers, operates and maintains 24 permanent American mil- 
itary burial grounds and 69 memorial structures in fourteen foreign countries 
and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and four memorials here 
in the United States. These cemeteries, monuments and memorials are among the 
most beautiful and meticulously maintained shrines of their nature in the 
world. Few others anywhere combine such fitness of design, beauty of 
landscaping and memorial features and immaculate care. ABMC presently is in 
the process of establishing a Korean War Veterans Memorial in Ash Woods at the 
foot of the Lincoln Memorial and very recently also was charged with 
establishing a World War II memorial in the Washington, D.C. environs. 

Interred in ABMC's cemeteries are 124,912 U.S. war Dead — 30,921 of World 
War I, 93,241 of World War II, and 750 of the Mexican War. Additionally, 
6,573 American veterans and others are interred in its Mexico City and Corozal 
American Cemeteries. The World War cemeteries and the Mexico City Cemetery 
are closed to further burials except for the remains of American War Dead 
still found from time to time in the battle areas. In addition to their 
burials, the World War I and II cemeteries together with 3 memorials on United 
States soil commemorate individually by name the 94,100 U.S. service personnel 
Missing in Action or lost or buried at sea during the two World Wars, the 
Korean War and the Vietnam War. 

The care of these shrines to our War Dead requires a formidable annual program 
of maintenance and repair of structures, facilities, vehicles and equipment 
and grounds maintenance. This care includes upkeep of 131,000 graves and 
headstones; 73 memorial structures; 41 quarters, utilities and maintenance 
facilities; 67 miles of roads and paths; 911 acres of flowering plants, fine 
lawns and meadows; 3 million square feet of shrubs and hedges; and 11 thousand 
ornamental shrubs and trees. The estimated replacement cost of these 
structures and facilities is almost 1/3 of a Sbillion. All of the plantings 
including the lawns and to some extent the meadows must be cultivated, cut 
and/or shaped, fed and treated with insecticides and fungicides at regular 
intervals during the growing season. Additionally, the plantings must be 
replaced when their useful lives are exhausted or they receive major storm or 
other damage. Much of this maintenance and care must be performed by casual 
labor as the cemetery staffs are not large enough to provide it adequately on 
a daily basis. 

ABMC's budget authority for the current year is $19,818,000. Its appro- 
priation request and budget authority for fiscal 1994 is $19,961,000, $143,000 
more than the current year. The expenses of the Commission fall into two 
categories, commemoration of the Armed Forces where they have served and care 
and maintenance of the shrines for which ABMC is responsible. Because of the 
large number of memorial structures, sculpture, buildings, headstones, 
flowering shrubs, ornsimental trees, vehicles and equipment and the many acres 
of fine lawns and meadows, ABMC is very labor intensive. Last year, 82% of 
ABMC expenditures were to defray personnel salaries and benefits. The foreign 
governments where our installations are located annually decree cost of living 
increases for our foreign national employees averaging $400,000. 



48 



On request, the following information and services are provided without cost 
to relatives and friends of those servicemen and women that are interred 
in ABMC cemeteries or commemorated individually by name on its Tablets of 
the Missing: name, location and general information about the 
cemetery, monument or memorial in which they are interested; plot, row and 
grave numbers if applicable; best routes and modes of travel in-country to 
these shrines; general information about accommodations in their vicinity; 
letters authorizing fee free passports for members of the immediate 
family travelling overseas specifically to visit an ABMC grave or memorial 
site; a black and white photograph of the headstone or section of the Tablets 
of the Missing where the name of the decedent is engraved mounted on a 
large color lithograph of the cemetery or memorial, together with a 
booklet describing the cemetery or memorial in detail; arrangement for 
floral decoration of a gravesite or section of the Tablets of the Missing 
where the name of the decedent is engraved utilizing funds provided by the 
donor; and provision to the donor of a color Polaroid photograph of the 
decoration in place, weather permitting. 

Last year, ABMC completed the Guadalcanal American Memorial which is located 
on Skyline Drive overlooking Honiaria, Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. It 
honors those servicemen who lost their lives during the Guadalcanal Campaign. 
The memorial was a joint project of ABMC and the Guadalcanal/Solomon Islands 
War Memorial Foundation. It consists of an inscribed four foot square pylon 
of red calca granite rising twenty-four feet above its base and four radiating 
directional walls. Inscribed on these walls are descriptions of the major 
battles towards which they point, Savo Island where four major naval battles 
took place, "Iron Bottom Sound" neimed for the many ships that lay on its 
floor, Edson's ridge commonly called "Bloody Ridge" for the fierce fighting in 
defense of Henderson Field that took place there, and Mount Austen where 
infantry units engaged a heavily intrenched enemy. The memorial was dedicated 
on August 7, last year. Attending the dedication were two members of ABMC who 
fought in that campaign; Colonel Badger, the Acting Secretary of ABMC; 
approximately 300 veterans of the 1st Marine Division and the Army Americal 
Division; and other Marine Corps, Naval and Army veterans of the campaign. 
General Raymond G. Davis, USMC(Ret) represented the President at the ceremony. 

Public Law 99-572 was enacted on October 28, 1986 authorizing ABMC to 
establish a Korean War Veterans Memorial in the Nation's Capital 
utilizing funds obtained primarily through private donations. Since then, 
legislation was sought and enacted authorizing erection of the memorial on the 
Mall; a superb site for it was obtained in Ash Woods directly across the 
Reflecting Pool from the Vietnam Memorial; at the request of the Korean War 
Veterans Memorial Advisory Board (KWVMAB), a national competition was held to 
obtain a design concept; and the architecture/engineering firm of Cooper/Lecky 
was employed to assist in obtaining approval of the winning design concept 
by the Commission of Fine Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission 
and the Secretary of the Interior, as required by in the Commemorative 
Works Act, PL 99-652. Simultaneously, a fund raising campaign was conducted 
to raise at least $15 million for the memorial, in addition to the $1 
million which was authorized to be appropriated by P.L. 99-572. With the 
assistance of the KWVMAB, $7,772,000 has been raised in private 
contributions, $5,820,000 from the sale of the commemorative coin and 
$2,192,000 from investing available funds for the memorial in Government 
securities, for a total of $15,784,000. Among its provisions, the 
Commemorative Works Act provides 7 years from the date of enactment of a 
memorial's authorizing legislation to obtain a building permit from the 
Secretary of Interior. That date for the Korean War Veterans Memorial is 
rapidly approaching. In order for ABMC to obtain a building permit, the 
following conditions must be met: the site and design be acceptable to the 
approving authorities; knowledgeable persons qualified in preservation and 
maintenance be consulted to determine the structural soundness and durability 
of the commemorative work in order to assure that it meets high professional 
standards; contracts for construction and drawings of the commemorative work 
be submitted to the Secretary of the Interior; and sufficient funds be 
available to construct the memorial. As the Korean War Veterans Memorial is 
being erected with funds obtained primarily through private contributions, 10% 
of the construction cost must be made available to the Secretary of the 
Interior to help defray future maintenance and repairs to the memorial. It 
is anticipated that all of these conditions will be met by October 28, 
1993. At present, 95% of final design of the memorial has been completed. 



49 



A contract was let in February of this year for installation of utilities 
and soil stabilization in preparation for construction. This will take from 
6 to 9 months. The target date for dedication of the memorial is July 
27, 1995, the 42 Anniversary of the signing of the cease fire in Korea. 

Last month, P.L. 103-32 was enacted authorizing ABMC to establish a World War 
II Memorial in the District of Columbia or its environs honoring members of 
the U.S. Armed Forces who served in World War II and to commemorate 
the participation of the United States in that War. The memorial is to 
be funded by private contributions and surcharges from the sale of 
three commemorative coins being minted this year by the U.S. Mint, a S5 
gold piece, a $1 silver coin and a $0.50 clad coin. There will be a surcharge 
of $35 on each gold coin, $8 on each silver coin and $2 on each clad 
coin. After the minting costs are recovered, the first $3 million in 
surcharges will go to the Normandy Foundation for a World War II Memorial 
Garden in Caen, France and the next S7 million to ABMC for the World War II 
Memorial. After that, the surcharges will be split monthly between the 
two organizations with 30% going to the Normandy Foundation and 70% to ABMC. 
If all coins were to be sold, the total value of the surcharges would be 
$22. 5 million. By law, minting of the coins must cease on 31 December of 
this year. 

This concludes my prepared statement. I will be pleased to respond to 
your questions. 



50 



STATEMENT OF 

JOSEPH A. VIOLANTE 

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL 

DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS 

BEFORE THE 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS 

OF THE 

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS 

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

JUNE 10, 1993 

MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE: 

On behalf of the more than 1.4 million members of the 
Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and its Women's Auxiliary, I 
thank you very much for this opportunity to express our views as 
part of your oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 
National Cemetery System (NCS) -- in particular, its operational 
needs in view of existing fiscal restraints. 

Additionally, Mr. Chairman, you are focusing on the 
operation of the Arlington National Cemetery and the American 
Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). You have also asked to 
receive testimony on H.R. 821, a measure extending eligibility 
for burial in national cemeteries to certain reservists. 

At the outset, Mr. Chairman, the DAV wishes to commend you 
on this timely exercise of your oversight responsibilities. 

Clearly, the efforts of this Subcommittee over the years 
have had a positive impact on the operations of the VA National 
Cemetery System. This impact was especially evident when the 
National Cemetery System became a separate line item in the VA 
budget. This welcomed action has greatly enhanced the 
management of NCS. 

We applaud your continued interest to ensure that the 
ultimate benefit earned by former members of our armed forces is 
available for all those who will choose to have this meaningful 
interment of their mortal remains. 

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY 

Mr. Chairman, the Arlington National Cemetery was begun in 
1864 and has become a great national and military shrine. It is 
located, together with Fort Meyer, on the old Custis-Lee Estate 
grounds and covers much of this 1,100 acre site overlooking our 
nation's Capitol. It is a visible reflection of America's 
appreciation for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to 
maintain our freedom. 

Mr. Chairman, the budget that is allocated to Arlington 
National Cemetery pays for the operation and maintenance of not 
only Arlington National Cemetery but also for the Soldiers' and 
Airmen's Home National Cemetery. We spoke with the staff of 
Arlington and it appears that the requested amount is adequate 
to maintain services at both locations and meet their projected 
needs . 

The Soldiers' and Airmen's Cemetery is located at the 
Soldiers' and Airmen's Home in Northwest Washington, D.C. It 
has only a limited number of interments each year but its 380 
remaining gravesites will be used up within 12 years. The bulk 
of services occur at the Arlington site. Arlington National 
Cemetery has been experiencing more than 4,000 combined annual 
interments and inurnments for several years. It is projected 
that the Fiscal Year 1993 total will climb to 4,500. 

The total developed gravesite capacity for Arlington 
entering Fiscal Year 1993 was 193,325 and 39,111 of these sites 
remain available. There is also additional undeveloped land 
which, when developed, would almost double the available sites. 
The in-ground interments are projected to cease during the year 
2025. 



51 



There are also 20,000 niches in the Columbarium for 
cremated remains. There are currently 8,000 niches still 
available. These will also increase in the future when, 
probably in 1996, additional buildings will be erected. 

Mr. Chairman, the Columbarium area is open to all honorably 
discharged veterans. However, because of the limited space 
available, the eligibility criteria for interments is limited 
to: 

1. Members of the armed forces who die on active duty. 

2. Those veterans who have a 20 year military retirement. 

3. Those with a medical discharge before October 1, 1949 

(and received at least a 30 percent VA disability). 

4. Holders of the Purple Heart. 

5. Those who received the Silver Star or a higher award. 

6. Veterans who held certain high government positions. 

7. Certain spouses and children of these veterans (they are 

interred in the same space as the veteran) . 

Mr. Chairman, future plans for possible expansion of the 
site include utilization of some of the adjoining area now 
occupied by Fort Myer. We hope plans can be formulated that 
will allow this hallowed area to remain available well-beyond 
the current projected closing date. 

AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION 

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) was created 
in 1923. The ABMC has been responsible for the perpetual care 
of many of our most prized war memorials as well as the overseas 
remains of the 30,920 war dead from World War I; 93,240 from 
World War II plus 750 from the Mexican War of 1847. Even the 
missing in action are remembered. The names of our unrecovered 
missing comrades from all our wars are engraved on the Tablets 
of the Missing at the Commission's cemetery or monument closest 
to the location where they lost their lives. The ABMC has 
demonstrated expertise and excellence in its operations and we 
commend it most highly. 

The ABMC has been charged with the task of coordinating the 
design and construction of the Korean War Memorial in Washington 
D.C. At the present time, the detailed design is about 90 
percent complete. Sixteen of the nineteen statutes in the 
design have been approved. Over $15.5 million has been 
collected thus far. There was a ground breaking ceremony held 
on Flag Day, June 14, 1992. The DAV looks forward to the day 
when we will finally pay proper tribute in our nation's Capitol 
to the men and women who fought in what, until now, has been 
referred to, regretfully, as the "forgotten war." 

Mr. Chairman, on August 7, 1992, ABMC dedicated the 
Guadalcanal Memorial on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. 
This memorial was dedicated to all Allied men and women who 
served in the Solomon Islands during World War II. 

As you are aware Mr. Chairman, the mission of the ABMC has 
been recently expanded to include the building of the World War 
II Memorial. This recent legislation calls for a 12-member 
advisory board to be appointed by the President to promote the 
memorial, encourage donations, and advise the ABMC on site and 
design selection. It is hoped that the memorial would be 
constructed through private contributions and revenue derived 
from the sale of commemorative coins. We look forward to the 
day we can pay tribute to the men and women who fought and 
served our country during World War II. 

H.R. 821 

Mr. Chairman, current eligibility for burial in a National 
Cemetery requires that a veteran be discharged or separated from 
active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and have 
completed the required period of active service. Service 



52 



members who die on active duty are also eligible. Further, 
spouses and dependent children of eligible living and deceased 
veterans, as well as those of current and deceased armed forces 
members, may also be buried in a National Cemetery. 

H.R. 821 would confer eligibility to burial in a National 
Cemetery to any Reservist who has earned credit for at least 20 
years of service for retirement purposes. 

Mr. Chairman, the DAV's legislative program is governed by 
mandates in the form of resolutions adopted by our membership at 
our annual DAV national convention. Since our membership has 
not adopted a resolution addressing the subject matter of 
providing National Cemetery eligibility for selected Reserve 
members, after twenty years of service, the DAV has no position 
regarding this measure. 

VA NATIONAL CE31ETERY SYSTEM (NCS) 

Mr. Chairman, it has been nearly 130 years since President 
Lincoln signed into law a measure authorizing the purchase of 
land to inter the remains of individuals who die in military 
service while preserving the freedoms we enjoy today. In 1973, 
more than 100 years later, the VA operated only 21 cemeteries. 
Then Public Law 94-43, "The National Cemetery Act of 1973," 
established the basis for the current National Cemetery System 
by transferring 82 national cemeteries from the Department of 
the Army and placing them under the direction of the VA. In 
1978 the VA established the National Cemetery System to 
administer the cemeteries and related programs. 

Mr. Chairman, as of October 1, 1991, there are 26,629,000 
living veterans who have, together with their spouses and 
dependent children, entitlement for burial in a National 
Cemetery. Fortunately for the NCS, the majority of those 
eligible for this benefit do not select it. The reasons vary 
from preference for a private cemetery to lack of an open 
National Cemetery within a reasonable distance from the 
veteran's family home. 

Of these 26,629,000 veterans, there are 6,259,000 living 
ex-service members with peacetime service only. Living veterans 
with wartime service include: 65,000 World War I veterans, 
8,469,000 veterans of World War II, 4,726,000 Korean Conflict 
veterans and 8,303,000 Vietnam Era veterans. Additionally, we 
now have a new group of Persian Gulf War veterans that numbered 
264,000 at the beginning of this fiscal year. However, that 
number should rise since there were 2,038,341 servicemen and 
women on active duty at the height of the Persian Gulf War 
during mid-February of 1991. 

Mr. Chairman, last year nearly 494,280 veterans died, while 
the NCS only interred 47,135 of those veterans. (Total 
internments for veterans and family members was 64,602.) This 
means that for every veteran interred in the VA system there 
were more than nine veterans who chose to have their remains 
placed somewhere else. Perhaps the NCS is not providing the 
service to veterans it should if the vast majority of veterans 
choose not to use one of the National Cemeteries as their 
final resting place. 

There were about 218,660 Presidential Memorial Certificates 
issued in 1992. What rate of NCS interment usage should we 
strive for? The NCS processed requests for nearly 318,070 
headstones or markers for burials, almost 271,000 of which went 
to veterans interred in private cemeteries outside the VA 
system. This seems to be the group that would most likely have 



53 



chosen to use a National Cemetery for interment if one had been 
more readily available. 

During Fiscal Year 1994, NCS expects to inter 70,000 
veterans and eligible dependents in national cemeteries, an 
increase of 1,600 over FY 1993; maintain 2,041,730 occupied 
grave sites, up by 54,320 over FY 1993; process 320,000 
applications for headstones or markers, 12,000 more than 
projected for FY 1993; and issue 340,000 Presidential Memorial 
Certificates, an increase of 10,000 above FY 1993 estimates. 

Mr. Chairman, at our most recent National Convention in 
Reno, Nevada, our delegates adopted a resolution (copy attached) 
seeking at least one open National Cemetery in each state. 

We believe the goal of this resolution is reasonable and 
pragmatic in establishing useful burial options for our nation's 
veterans, and we encourage the VA to consider this resolution 
when considering their National Cemetery System requirements for 
the future. We use the following information in support of this 
mandate from our membership. 

Since 1973, the VA has developed a regional concept of 
siting and administering National Cemeteries nationwide. 
Currently, there are 114 cemeteries in the National Cemetery 
System and 33 soldiers lots and plots. Of that number, only 59 
National Cemeteries are still open for burial in Fiscal Year 
1993. Ten more new cemeteries will be added in this decade. 
Information made available to us indicates that at least 26 of 
the VA's current open National Cemeteries are scheduled to close 
during the next 23 years. That is an average of more than one 
per year. Unfortunately, this is occurring at the same time our 
World War II veteran population experiences its peak years of 
need. The peak number of veteran deaths, 611,000, will occur 
during Fiscal Year 2008. Will the NCS be prepared for them? 

Projected National Cemetery Closures 

Listed In Order of Projected Closing 

(Fiscal Year 1991 - Fiscal Year 2000) 

Additional acreage acquisitions can defer closing date 

1. New Albany, IN. . . 1991-closed 11. Quincy, IL 1995 

2. NMCP, HI 1991-closed 12. Ft. Sam Houston, TX..1997 

3. Memphis, TN 1992-closed 13. Dayton, OH 1998 

4. Port Hudson, LA. . 1992-closed 14. Biloxi, MS 1998 

5. New Bern, NC 1992-closed 15. Springfield, MO 1999 

6. Alexandria, LA... 1993 16. Natchez, MS 1999 

7. Hampton, VA 1993 17. Salisbury, NC 2000 

8. Nashville, TN....1993 

9. Wood, WI 1995 

10. Florence, SC 1995 

Mr. Chairman, as we understand it, the National Cemetery 
System continues to operate and make plans based on a revised 
regional concept designed to implement the "75/75 rule." This 
rule calls for locating cemeteries in proximity to our nation's 
population centers so that 75 percent of all eligible veterans 
will live no more than 75 miles from an open National Cemetery 
by the year 2000. 

Previous DAV testimony before this Subcommittee has 
expressed our views that a National Cemetery System policy based 
solely on the regional concept is unrealistic, especially in 
view of the fact that by the year 2000 more than one-half of our 
nation's veterans will reside more than 100 miles from an open 
National Cemetery. We believe that the regional concept is less 
than optimally effective, since by design, burial space is 
located many miles from at least 25 percent of the veterans' 
families increasing to over 50 percent by the year 2000. 



54 



Mr. Chairman, the vast majority of Americans, we believe, 
prefer to inter the remains of family members close to their 
homes, even the 75 miles would be a burden to many families who 
live 55, 60 or 70 miles from the cemetery. But that burden is 
nothing compared to the situation that exists in some western 
states where many veterans live four, five, six or seven 
hundred miles from a National Cemetery. Even in the 
northeastern state of Maine we have a situation where veterans' 
families must travel several hundred miles to the nearest open 
National Cemetery. We must keep in mind that only 39 states 
have a National Cemetery and many of those are closed to new 
burials . 

Mr. Chairman, we understand it takes nearly seven years to 
complete a cemetery project from the conception stage, through 
the environmental impact study, land acquisition and 
construction. This is a fairly rigid time frame. The VA also 
reports that even if they add the proposed ten new cemeteries, 
there will still be about 20 fewer cemeteries open by the year 
2020. Therefore, it seems vitally important that the VA 
undertake a review and modification of existing regional policy 
that will permit the National Cemetery System to serve all those 
veterans entitled to burial in the NCS. 

We believe the present regional concept should be promptly 
and carefully reviewed by the VA with an eye toward developing a 
strategic plan to site future National Cemeteries to accommodate 
the trends of our aging veteran population and projected closure 
of existing National Cemeteries. Additionally, we believe it 
important that Congress take prompt affirmative steps to fully 
fund new National Cemetery sites. We believe these steps are 
vital, Mr. Chairman, in order for the National Cemetery System 
to offer eligible veterans and their families realistic, 
effective burial options in the future. 

Mr. Chairman, in addition to the site location problems, 
there are several other statistics that bear on the current and 
future needs of the National Cemetery System. 

In Fiscal Year 1984, the NCS maintained 1,552,101 graves 
with an average wage grade FTEE of 820 and interred 47,021 
remains. The VA is now proposing for Fiscal Year 1993 to 
maintain 1,989,828 graves while conducting 65,000 interments 
with a wage grade FTEE of 819. 

Mr. Chairman, from 1984 to 1993, interment and gravesite 
maintenance workloads have increased by 28.2 percent and 38.9 
percent respectively, while the wage grade FTEE will have 
declined during the same period. 

The wage grade FTEE represents the workers doing the actual 
burials, upkeep, maintenance, etc. The FTEE total (including 
white collar workers) for the NCS, in Fiscal Year 1993 is 1,291, 
one less than Fiscal Year 1992. We understand that even this 
figure is somewhat deceptive since the years of budget cuts 
before this year often forced temporary hires and other stop gap 
measures. The actual annual full-time FTEE has been below the 
authorized level for years. We need more, not fewer, FTEE for 
the NCS, particularly at the wage grade level. 

Interments are not static. They have already increased 
from 47,021 in 1984 to 64,602 last year. There are projected to 
be 70,000 interments in Fiscal Year 1994 with a rapid increase 
to 107,000 projected interments per year by the year 2010. The 
numbers are projected to begin a decline after 2010. 

Mr. Chairman, we cannot ignore these figures. If we fail 
to plan properly and if we deny appropriate, necessary funding, 
our cemetery system will be beyond salvation. 



55 



We need to fully implement the Burial Operations' Support 
System (BOSS) and other NCS computer systems and ensure that at 
least one system is capable of direct communication with the VA 
regional office (benefit) system and VA hospital (medical) 
system. VA reports that funding for BOSS will be reduced in 
1994, because most of the equipment will have been purchased in 
1993. 

Mr. Chairman, there are other steps that can be taken to 
ease the NCS burden. For example, there are states that have 
special state cemetery provisions for veterans. This is not the 
same as having your final resting place in a National Cemetery. 
However, pending the advent of an open National Cemetery in 
every state, we support the NCS State Cemetery Grants Program. 

For the past fifteen years. Public Law 95-476 has 
provided the VA with authority to ma)<e grants providing up to 50 
percent of the costs associated with development, expansion or 
improvement of a state-owned veterans' cemetery. The VA has 
provided grants in 19 of the 25 states -- plus the territory of 
Guam -- that have state veterans' cemeteries. 

Mr. Chairman, earlier this year this Subcommittee heard 
testimony on the proposed amendment to Title 38, United States 
Code, Section 2408(b)(1) and (2), to increase the Federal share 
to 65 percent of the total grant and to reduce the states' share 
to 35 percent. DAV believes that this increased grant to the 
states will encourage more states to participate in the program. 
The potential for increased state participation in this program, 
pending the advent of an open National Cemetery in every state, 
will provide a final resting place relatively close to a 
veteran's home and family. Perhaps the VA can take action to 
see that more states avail themselves of this benefit. 

Mr. Chairman, a significant number of veterans are cremated 
each year. In Fiscal Year 1991 over 13,000 cremated remains 
(cremains) were handled by the NCS. At the start of this Fiscal 
Year only six of the 113 National Cemeteries had Columbaria. 
There are plans to expand that number as the budget allows. 
Meanwhile, the vast majority of cremains are buried. Some 
cemeteries have a garden niche program, others use a regular 
burial space. The erection of Columbaria in our National 
cemeteries should be speeded up. It is possible to increase the 
life span of certain open cemeteries and open some closed 
cemeteries by allowing the Columbaria option for those veterans 
who choose cremation. 

Mr. Chairman, the DAV was proud to be able to make a 
monetary donation to the National Cemetery System and encourage 
volunteers to lend their time and skill when possible to their 
nearest National Cemetery. We encourage others to donate time 
or money to the NCS. The NCS does have a gift fund. Donations 
will be considered a gift to the federal government for tax 
purposes and used within the cemetery system. 

Most National Cemeteries have had to severely cut back, or 
eliminate, many routine maintenance and upkeep items. While 
awaiting the proper funding for these items, volunteer hours can 
help keep the VA from falling further behind. During Fiscal 
Year 1990, the three NCS regions had a combined total of 148,281 
volunteer hours. That is the equivalent of more than 70 new 
FTEE and saved the NCS well over $1 million in salary expense. 

Volunteers have helped the NCS with many jobs. They have 
painted road dividers, planted trees, mulched flower beds and 
done similar chores that have allowed the diminished NCS staff 
to spend more time on jobs that require their special skills. 

Mr. Chairman, the DAV understands the reality of budget 
constraints, but of all the rights that our veterans have 
earned , surely the right to a decent burial and care of their 
remains is something this government can afford. Additional 



56 



funding is vital if the System is to provide meaningful, 
dignified service to our nation's veterans and their families. 

Mr. Chairman, we stress that veterans have earned this 
entitlement. If space is available, the NCS cannot refuse to 
inter the remains of entitled veterans in a National Cemetery. 
All NCS costs relate to activities it is obligated to perform. 
Yet funding is provided under a discretionary account. To avoid 
future inadequate funding we feel that all NCS activities should 
be funded from a mandatory spending budget account. 

Mr. Chairman, as you know all equipment has a certain 
useful life. It can be repaired for a while, but there comes a 
point where it becomes cheaper to sell or discard old equipment 
and buy new, rather than to keep wasting dollars in repair and 
downtime maintaining obsolete equipment. The NCS has over 8,000 
major pieces of equipment in inventory with a value of over $22 
million. Through an extensive maintenance program, this 
equipment longevity has been extended an average of five years 
beyond its scheduled replacement date. To keep this system 
productive, let's keep the equipment useful. 

Mr. Chairman, lets "fix what's broke" before buying another 
band-aid. We appreciate your Subcommittee recommending 
additional funds to "fix" the system last year. The movement of 
the NCS to a line item in the VA budget and the addition of a 
one-time $10 million addition to the NCS allocation allowed much 
progress to be made. However, the backlog of equipment and 
deferred items has only been reduced -- by about one-half -- not 
eliminated. We must continue to ensure that the NCS backlog is 
brought down to zero. Then we can take steps to ensure the 
budget is reasonable to run the NCS on an annual basis. 

The operation of the National Cemetery System has been 
adversely affected by the prior budgets and the proposed Fiscal 
Year 1994 budget only keeps the NCS even with inflation. There 
are no "extras." This is illustrated by the anticipated 
$3.1 million backlog in equipment replacement, which will grow 
to $5.8 million by the end of Fiscal Year 1994. Currently, 
there is no progress being made in reducing this backlog. Money 
is also needed to finish the previously deferred maintenance and 
repair projects. 

The Independent Budget , which the DAV helped author, 
recommends for Fiscal Year 1994 an appropriation of $80 million; 
a $9.3 million increase above the Fiscal Year 1993 
appropriations. This increase will not fund all NCS equipment 
and maintenance needs, nor will it fund the optimal number of 
employees. It will enable NCS, however, to move towards its 
goal of meeting the burial needs of American veterans and their 
families . 

Mr. Chairman, previously we viewed those terrible 
photographs of Riverside National Cemetery. Thanks to the 
emergency funds you provided, the Riverside problem was solved. 
But we must continue to fully fund the NCS so that we will never 
need to face another shameful series of events that would allow 
one of our National Cemeteries to become a virtual "potter's 
field." 

The National Cemetery System should be the crown jewel of 
the VA. Our National Cemetery System is charged with 
maintaining the honor of our fallen comrades in perpetuity. 
These cemeteries live on as a lasting sign of a grateful 
nation's final gift to those who served her so well in her times 
of need. Last year we began to take positive steps to create a 
polished gem out of the NCS. Let us continue to strive to make 
sure this jewel will forever shine like the precious diamond it 
should be. 

That concludes my testimony, Mr. Chairman. I will be 
pleased to respond to any questions you or the Subcommittee 
members may have. 



57 



RESOLUTION NO. 213 



TO PROVIDE FOR A NATIONAL CEMETERY IN EVERY STATE 



WHEREAS, there are many states and regions of the 
United States without National Cemetery facilities; and 

WHEREAS, federal and state land ideally suited for 
cemetery development is available in many states; and 

WHEREAS, veterans should be entitled to burial in a 
National Cemetery reasonably close to their homes; and 

WHEREAS, VA's current policy of regionalization does 
not always ensure that eligible deceased veterans can be 
interred close to their families; NOW 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Disabled American 
Veterans in National Convention assembled in Reno, Nevada, 
August 2-6, 1992, supports legislation to provide for at 
least one open National Cemetery in each state to ensure 
that all veterans may be buried in a National Cemetery 
reasonsibly close to their homes. 



58 




S, 



ERVING 
WITH 
PRIDE 




statement 

of 

Michael F. Brinck 
AMVETS National Legislative Director 

before the 

House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee 

on 

Housing and Memorial Affairs 

regarding the 

National Cemetery System 

June 10, 1993 



AMVETS 

NATIONAL 
HEADQIARTERS 
4647 Forbes Boulevard 
Lanhjm. Maniand 
20706-9961 

TXLEPHCNE 301-159-96i'>fl 
FAX 301-)5!'-:9.M 
ns >-344-355: 



59 



Mr. Chairman, thank you for inviting AMVETS to testify today 
on the National Cemetery System. 

Since its earliest beginnings during the Civil War when the 
War Department directed commanding officers to follow the 
Quartermaster General's regulations for the burial of soldiers and 
related record keeping, the National Cemetery System (NCS) has 
provided the nation's last service to its veterans. Today's system 
of national cemeteries, soldier's plots and national parks 
ironically comprise a living memorial to the dead Americans who 
chose to answer their country's call to service in uniform. 

The NCS workload is a direct reflection of the aging veteran 
population. As stated in the Independent Budget, the average age of 
the veteran population is 23 years older than the general 
population and over half of all veterans are older than 56. Of the 
nearly 27 million living veterans, there are now 35 thousand WWI 
vets, 8.5 million WWII vets, 4.7 million Korean War vets, and 8.3 
million Vietnam vets. 

Since President lincoln established the first 14 sites in 
1862, the National Cemetery System has grown to 114 national 
cemeteries. But NCS now estimates that only 49 national 

cemeteries will remain open. to casket burial by the year 2000 if 
new sites are not added. To respond to a 1987 survey on cemetery 
requirements, NCS has started development or identified sites in 
areas that will serve over 4 million veterans and their families. 
Site selection is also underway in high need areas that will enable 
VA to serve another 2.4 million veterans and their families. 
Obviously with 27 million veterans plus eligible dependents, this 
is still not enough because the system currently has grave sites 
for less than 1% of those eligible. 

AMVETS notes that NCS plans to bring all nine remaining 
proposed cemeteries on line by May 2000. A review of the planning 
schedule is interesting in that it offers a clear example of how 
long it takes the federal government to complete a project. The 
development schedules for the nine remaining regional cemeteries at 
Albany, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Detroit, Miami, 
Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh and Seattle average 35 months from 



60 



initial site advertisement to the Secretaries signed record of 
decision, and 68 months from that decision to formal dedication of 
the new cemetery. It now takes nearly 9 years to bring a new 
cemetery on-line. We urge NCS to redouble its efforts to acquire 
properties adjacent to existing facilities whenever appropriate and 
possible to speed the addition of new burial sites. The new 
projects will also help meet VA's goal of an open national cemetery 
within 75 miles of 75% of America's veterans and will go a long way 
toward meeting AMVETS' goal of an open national cemetery in every 
state. We are deeply disturbed at DoD's decision not to sell Ft. 
Sheridan, Illinois to VA for use as a new National Cemetery. We 
understand that VA was not able to meet the appraisal value and 
that the Army will sell to a commercial interest. Unfortunately, 
this is another case of DoD not wanting to acknowledge its debt to 
its own former employees. 

AMVETS fully supports the grant program for state veterans 
cemeteries because studies have shown that most veterans prefer to 
be buried near their home. Since its beginning in 1981, the grant 
program has awarded 70 grants totalling over $33 million to 17 
states and the territory of Guam. 1992 saw grants to Tennessee, 
North Carolina, Illinois, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Montana and 
Nevada that will provide honored final resting places for thousands 
of veterans and other eligible. We fully support legislation that 
would increase VA's share of the cost to a maximum of 65% to 
encourage states to fund additional sites. 

Mr. Chairman, as you know, AMVETS participated in preparation 
of the Independent Budget (IB) for the Department of Veterans 
Affairs. This year the IB recommends a total GOE appropriation of 
$80 million compared to the administration's request of $70.5 
million. We also recommend 55 new FTEE compared to the six in the 
President's budget. 

We are gratified to see $37.4 million in major and minor 
construction funds for the next year as well as $5.2 million for 
grants to state veterans cemeteries. We fully support the IB 
recommendation to build at least two new National cemeteries each 
year to reach a goal of at least one open National Cemetery in each 



61 



state. While the regional mega-cemeteries concept will provide 
progress towards that goal, we are concerned that VA not lose sight 
of the veterans community's desire to be buried near home. To many 
veterans, the lack of a reasonably close national or state veterans 
cemetery effectively deprives them of what for many is the only 
benefit they get from VA. 

NCS estimates increases in all areas of responsibility for the 
next fiscal year. With about 1321 employees, NCS's total acreage 
will hit 10,585; interments will reach 70,000; over 54,000 new 
gravesites will be added for a total of 2,041,730 under NCS care; 
headstone requests will increase by 12,000 to reach 320,000 in FY 
94; issuances of Presidential Memorial Certificates will rise to 
362,000, an increase of 32,000. That works out to 8 acres and 1581 
graves to maintain, 53 interments, 248 marker requests to process, 
and 274 certificates to issue per FY 93 FTEE. We are concerned 
that within the equipment budget, while replacement equipment is 
receiving increased funding levels, additional equipment is 
severely reduced. We urge the administration and Congress to make 
every effort to provide NCS the tools to do the job at a time when 
demand for their services is continuing to increase. 

Mr. Chairman, AMVETS would like to congratulate the NCS on its 
outreach program to inform veterans of the entitlement to burial 
benefits. The 1987 national survey of veterans revealed that one 
third of all veterans were unaware of their right to be buried in 
a national cemetery or receive payments for burial in state or 
private cemeteries. NCS has initiated an aggressive program to get 
the word out and to highlight the availability of burial sights in 
National Cemeteries. We heartily endorse increased use of National 
Cemeteries for public ceremonies connected with commemorating 
events of all wars but especially WWII and Korea, since those are 
the groups of veterans who will form the majority of near-term 
interments. 

Another NCS program worthy of mention is the Burial Operations 
Support System (BOSS) . While we support automation of the 
administration of the NCS, we feel compelled to caution that NCS 
should provide liaison with the VBA automation project to ensure 



71-287 0-93-3 



62 



all appropriate interfaces will be available to integrate with the 
larger system. 

Mr. Chairman, AMVETS was gratified by chairman Montgomery's 
favorable reply to our letter concerning a proposal by part of the 
funeral industry to shift the costs of grave liners from VA to the 
veterans survivors. We conducted a random poll of funeral homes in 
the DC area and found that a graveliner similar to that provided by 
the VA would cost from $250 to $700 if purchased by the families 
from funeral homes. VA states it pays an average of $127 for a 
graveliner. 

Mr. Chairman, we recently observed Memorial Day to honor those 
who have died in service to the nation. National holidays are 
fitting tribute, but they are fleeting events that occupy a 
calendar commemorating many of our nations important ideals and 
history as well as some less important happenings. But a cemetery 
of should be viewed a permanent tribute not only to those resting 
there, but also to the principles for which they wore the uniform 
and died. These principles are the true occupants of each grave 
and part of our legacy to our children lies beneath each marker. 
Let us continue to provide our veterans and the principles they 
served a fitting place of honor. That completes our statement. 



63 




PARALYZED VETERANS 
OF AMERICA 
Chartered by the Congress 
of the United States 

STATEMENT OF 

CLIFTON E. DUPREE, ASSOCIATE LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR 

PARALYZED VETERANS OF AMERICA 

BEFORE THE 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS 

OF THE 

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS 

CONCERNING 

OVERSIGHT OF THE NATIONAL CEMETERY SYSTEM (NCS) 

June 10, 1993 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, on behalf of 
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), thank you for inviting us to 
testify today. PVA appreciates this opportunity to present our 
views concerning oversight of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs' (VA) National Cemetery System (NCS). Your efforts to seek 
justification for what National Cemetery System's long range plans 
should be are also appreciated. Mr. Chairman, PVA supports the 
proposal to create burial eligibility to members of the Selected 
Reserve who have served at least 20 years, provided they have 
served on active duty for at least two years. 

For over two hundred years, this nation has provided suitable final 
resting places for the men and women who served in our Armed 
Forces. This tradition must be protected and continued. To do 
otherwise would break a long-standing national commitment and 
demean the sacrifices of our veterans. 

The National Cemetery System (NCS) has a threefold mission: first, 
to provide, upon request, interment in any national cemetery with 
available grave space for the remains of eligible deceased 
servicepersons and discharged veterans (together with their spouses 
and certain dependents), and to permanently maintain these graves; 
second, to mark the graves of eligible persons in national and 
private cemeteries, upon proper application; and third, to 
administer the State Grant Program for aid to states in 
establishing, expanding or improving state veterans' cemeteries. 

The State Veterans' Cemetery Grants Program makes grants to any 
state to assist such state in establishing, expanding, or improving 
state-owned veterans' cemeteries. The primary purpose is to assist 
the states in providing gravesites for veterans in those areas 
where national cemeteries cannot fully satisfy the burial needs of 
veterans. States receive financial assistance in the form of a 
grant that provides up to 50 percent of the costs associated with 
the development, expansion or improvement of a state-owned 
veterans' cemetery. 

801 Eighteenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006 (202) USA- 1300 Fax: (202) 785-4452 



64 



To qualify, title to the proposed State site must be vested in the 
State, and the cemetery must operate solely for the benefit of 
those persons eligible for burial in a national cemetery. Grants 
are made on the condition that the cemetery shall conform to 
standards and guidelines relating to site selection, planning, and 
construction as prescribed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. 
Since the establishment of this program over eleven years ago, a 
total of $40.6 million has been appropriated. 

We do encourage the efforts to expand the grant programs for state 
veterans' cemeteries, however, these efforts alone will not 
adequately provide for the final needs of all veterans. A combined 
federal/state effort is helpful, but it should be the primary 
responsibility of the federal government to provide a final resting 
place for all eligible veterans who have served in defense of this 
nation. It is important to remember that entitlement to burial in 
a National Cemetery may be the "only" veterans' benefit used after 
honorably serving our nation. 

It is only fitting that veterans of this nation be laid to rest 
near their family and loved ones. PVA continues to advocate for the 
location of a VA cemetery in every state, and for a national 
cemetery within reasonable driving distance of each major veterans 
population center. 

Mr. Chairman, the FY 1994 Independent Budget requests an 
appropriation of $80 million or an increase of $9.3 million over FY 
1993, and funding for fifty-five additional FTEEs . This increase 
will not fund all NCS equipment and maintenance needs, nor will it 
fund the optimal number of employees. It will, however, enable NCS 
to move toward its goal of meeting the burial needs of American 
veterans and their families. 

Consisting of 114 national cemeteries, NCS has interred nearly one 
million veterans and their eligible dependents and has processed 
more than five million headstone and marker applications since its 
inception in 1973. 

The National Cemetery System is experiencing a steady workload 
growth. During FY 1994 NCS expects to achieve the following: 
inter 70,000 veterans and eligible dependents in national 
cemeteries, an increase of 1,500 over FY 1993; maintain 2,041,730 
occupied grave sites, 54,320 more than in FY 1993; process 320,000 
applications for headstones or markers, 12,000 more than projected 
for 1993; and issue 362,000 Presidential Memorial Certificates, an 
increase of 32,000 above FY 1993 estimates. 

Equipment replacement backlogs within NCS continue to be a major 
concern. By the end of FY 1993, NCS anticipates a $3.1 million 
backlog in equipment replacement, which will grow to $4.8 million 
by the end of FY 1994. Additionally, NCS must implement critical 
maintenance and repair projects to maintain NCS's infrastructure of 
400 buildings and 100 miles of roads. 

The Senate Appropriations Committee found "that VA tends to reduce 
the NCS budget when other activities experience a shortfall." The 
Appropriations Committee established a separate NCS appropriation 
account. Previously, the NCS had been included with Veterans 
Benefits Administration and General Administration under General 
Operating Expenses (GOE). 

Although establishing a separate NCS account may prevent internal 
transfers, it will not affect the Administration's NCS 
appropriations requests, which for years have been inadequate. The 
National Cemetery System needs the stable and rational funding 
mechanism that only a mandatory spending account can provide. 



65 



PVA continues to support having mandatory spending accounts fund 
all costs associated with providing benefits. These include the 
cost of acquiring sufficient cemetery space, constructing 
cemeteries and maintaining them properly. 

NCS also has the demonstrated expertise to plan effectively, so 
that it can provide burial entitlement efficiently and with 
dignity. If Congress funds NCS activities through a mandatory 
spending account, it will eliminate the budgetary problems that 
produced the current equipment backlog. 

PVA would like to thank the Administrators of the Arlington 
National Cemetery and the members of the American Battle Monuments 
Commission for their efforts to provide excellent support services 
to the veterans of this nation. 

We encourage this Committee to engage in aggressive oversight of 
the National Cemetery System and, by so doing, ensure that the 
veterans who have served this nation will be given the appropriate 
honors which should be bestowed upon them. Mr. Chairman, such 
concern has enabled VA to become increasingly responsive to the 
burial needs of veterans. That concludes my testimony. I will be 
pleased to answer any questions. 



66 



NCOA 



Non Commissioned Officers Association of the United States of America 

225 N. Washington Street • Alexandria, Virginia 22314 • Telephone (703) 549-0311 



STATEMENT OF 

RICHARD W. JOHNSON 
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS 

BEFORE THE 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS 

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS 

U. S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

ON 

NATIONAL CEMETERY SYSTEM OVERSIGHT 

JUNE 10, 1993 



Chartered by the United States Congress 



67 



Mr. Chainnan, the Non Commissioned Officers Association sincerely appreciates this 
opportunity to share with the committee its views on oversight of the National Cemetery 
System (NCS) and H. R. 821, a bill that would allow the burial of retired and retirement 
eligible reservists in National Cemeteries. NCOA fully supports the passage of H. R. 821 and 
continues to be satisfied with the operation of the NCS. However, NCOA reinains concerned 
about the equipment backlog that exists within the cemetery system and the pace of new 
cemetery construction. Additionally, NCOA is concerned with the effect the provisions of the 
Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA90) are having on some veteran families. 
Hopefully NCOA's observations on these issues will prove helpful to the committee. 

H.R. 821 

NCOA is extremely grateful to the committee for action taken last year to make 
retired and retirement eligible reservists eligible for burial Flags and grave markers. The 
cormnittee acted generously on this issue but stopped short of granting these deserving 
reservists burial in a National Cemetery which would provide full recognition of their service 
to this Nation. We urge the committee to grant that recognition this year. 

The character of reserve service in the anned forces has changed significantly in 
recent years. Reservists are no longer stay at home weekend warriors. They are now an 
integral part of tlie armed forces. And with each passing day, their service becomes more 
critical and important to the security of the United States. 

As the armed forces are reduced in size from 2.1 million to 1.2 million people, the 
roles and missions of today's active coinmututy are passed to reserve components. Army 
Reserve and National Guard now constitute 83 percent of Army heavy lift helicopters and 40 
percent of attack helicopter units; 56 percent of infantry battalions; 58 percent of hospitals; 51 
percent of artillery battalions; etc. The Navy relies on reserve units to provide all of its 
heavy airlift, composite aircraft, strike rescue, harbor protection and shipping control. In 
addition naval reserve units are responsible for 93 percent of cargo handling, 83 percent of 
sealift, 68 percent of construction, 47 percent of hospitals and much more. The Air National 
Guard and Air Force Reserve provide 100 percent of weather reconnaissance and 92 percent 
of tactical interceptor aircraft for the continental United States. They also provide more than 
40 percent of airlift, tanker, and cargo crews. While less dependent on reserve components 
than the other services, the Marine Corps gets half its reconnaissance support and 40 percent 
of its tank support from reserve components. Moreover, these numbers continue to grow 
daily as active force reductions continue. 

These numbers are impressive, but they also tell a significant story. Reservists are no 
longer practice brigades who work on plastic models and march with wooden rifles. They are 
operational units. Pilots no longer fiy circles in the sky to maintain proficiency, they now fly 
missions— many times to foreign countries delivering badly needed supplies. Inactive reserve 
pilots flew missions to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. Their 
planes were loaded, repaired and refuelled by inactive reservists and guardsmen. All the Air 
Force medical evacuation missions were flown by reservists. Yet this is only a small part of 
the story. Every weekend, in every comer of the globe, reservists are loading the ships, 
maintaining the equipment, flying the airplanes, etc. that are necessary to the day to day 
operations of the anned forces. 

Mr. Chairman, NCOA fully supports H.R. 821 and urges its passage. 

NCS OVERSIGHT 

As noted in our opening remarks, NCOA has two concerns within the oversight area 
of the National Cemetery System. The first pertains to the pace of construction of new 
national cemeteries. 

By the year 2000 the VA projects it will have 123 national cemeteries. Only 114 of 
those facilities currently exist. It also projects that 67 of those facilities will be closed to the 



68 



burial of casketed remains. Eighteen existing cemeteries will close between now and the year 
2000. Thus, unless the Department becomes more aggressive in its cemetery construction 
program it potentially will have only 47 fully operational facilities at the turn of the century. 

Since 1987, the NCS has had a priority list of ten cemetery priority sites that would 
nearly double the number of veterans served by the NCS. Last year the VA indicated it 
would ask for construction money for four of those facilities in FY 1994. They include 
Albany, Chicago, Cleveland and Seattle. Yet no cemetery construction money was requested 
this year. In 1987 it was projected that the last of the ten cemeteries on the priority list 
would open next year. To date, only one has been completed. Only one other is near land 
acquisition. According to the VA's own schedule, it takes 3.5 years to open a cemetery after 
the land has been acquired. 

Mr. Chairman, it must be possible to do something to speed the acquisition and 
construction process without compromising the contracting efforts of the VA. We urge the 
committee to take a serious look at the timetable for construction of each proposed new 
national cemetery. We further urge the committee to take such action as may be necessary to 
assure the timely completion of these projects. 

The second area of oversight concern held by the association pertains to the equipment 
backlog that has existed for several years. It was the hope of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs to reduce the equipment backlog to $2.6 million by the end of the year. 
Unfortunately, NCOA has recently been informed that an equipment backlog of $5.8 million 
will be carried forward with no relief projected in Fiscal Year 1994. 

Mr. Chainnan, service life extension and maintenance have made it possible for the 
VA to stretch the useful life of some equipment far beyond what was expected. However, 
even with the best maintenance such equipment will only last so long. When equipment fails, 
without replacement, manpower must make up for the failure. Thus automated tasks must be 
done manually. That takes longer; longer means less efficient; less efficient means loss of 
production and that means financial loss. NCOA urges the committee to take positive action 
to retire the equipment backlog. 

OBRA90 

Under the provisions of OBRA90, many veterans benefits previously extended to 
remarried and former spouses were tenninated. Among them was the benefit of burial in a 
national cemetery. NCOA generally supports the provisions of OBRA90 in this regard. Still, 
its sweeping provisions have created some inequity. 

For example, NCOA last year assisted the family of a woman whose minor daughter 
had been buried at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery. The woman had requested to be buried 
with her daughter but OBRA90 prevented that because subsequent to her daughter's death she 
had divorced the veteran. Interment was denied. It was only after NCOA interceded directly 
with the Secretary that burial was authorized 43 days after the woman's death. 

As previously stated, NCOA supports the overall thrust of OBRA90, but not to the 
degree that it separates fainilies in life or in death. While NCOA recognizes that the 
Secretary does by law have the authority to grant a waiver in individual cases, such waivers 
require extraordinary effort on the part of grieving families at a time of great distress. More 
often than not, such waivers are denied. 

Mr. Chairman, according to the VA only about 200 waivers per year are requested 
under similar circumstances. In the case cited above, the family's request for waiver was 
routinely disapproved on the basis of eligibility criteria at the lowest level and at the NCS. 
NCOA doubts that the 200 waivers requested by families were acted upon by the Secretary 
without the direct forceful intervention of significant external others (Congress, Associations, 



69 



etc.). NCOA urges Congress to authorize burial in these cases unless specific objection is 
expressed by the veteran. 

CONCLUSION 

Mr. Chairman, NCOA sincerely appreciates the opportunity you have provided us to 
discuss the pace of construction of national cemeteries, the equipment backlog and the 
unfortunate effects of OBRA90. NCOA also appreciates the attention given to H.R. 821. 
Again, NCOA urges the passage of this bill. 

Thank you. 



70 



STATEMENT OF 

DENNIS M. CULLINAN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR 

NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE SERVICE 

VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF THE UNITED STATES 

BEFORE THE 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS 
COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS 
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

WITH RESPECT TO 

VA NATIONAL CEMETERY SYSTEM, ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY 
AND THE AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION 

WASHINGTON, D.C. JUNE 10, 1993 

MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE: 

On behalf of the 2.2 million members of the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars of the United States I wish to thank you for invit- 
ing us to participate in today's important hearing. The VFW 
remains committed to the proposition that all veterans should 
have convenient access to a national cemetery so that they are 
not denied this final veterans' benefit. Also under discussion 
today will be the operation of the Arlington National Cemetery 
and the American Battle Monument Commission. We will, of course, 
be pleased to comment on these important areas as well. 

The National Cemetery System (NCS) was established in 1973 
pursuant to Public Law 93-43. NCS carries out four main activi- 
ties. It inters deceased veterans and deceased active members of 
the armed forces, their spouses, and certain dependents in na- 
tional cemeteries that have available grave space and permanently 
maintains these grave sites; it provides headstones for these 
burials in national cemeteries and private cemeteries; it admin- 
isters grants to states for state veterans' cemeteries; and it 
prepares and issues Presidential Memorial Certificates to surviv- 
ing family members and others who request them. 

At recent Congressional hearings as well as articulated in 
the Independent Budget for VA, the VFW has complimented NCS man- 
agement on a job well done. We now do so once again. NCS, 
however, has not been without problems. One only need recall the 
deplorable conditions at Riverside (California) National Cemetery 
of a couple of years ago. Riverside National Cemetery, due to a 
lack of equipment and maintenance dollars, was unable to cope 



71 



with unexpected heavy rains that reduced its appearance to that 
of a virtual pauper's field. 

To stop the VA practice of reducing NCS funding due to 
budget cutbacks in GOE, Congress established a separate budget 
line item of the National Cemetery System. This welcomed action 
has greatly enhanced the management of NCS. 

Equipment replacement backlogs within NCS continue to be a 
major concern. By the end of FY 1993, NCS anticipates a $3.1 
million backlog in equipment replacement, which will grow to $4.8 
million by the end of FY 1994. Additionally, NCS must implement 
critical maintenance and repair projects to maintain NCS's in- 
frastructure of 400 buildings and 100 miles of roads. 

In accordance with the Independent Budget the VFW recommends 
an appropriation for FY 1994 of $80 million, or an increase of 
$9.3 million over FY 1993 appropriation. This increase will not 
fund all NCS equipment and maintenance needs, nor will it fund 
the optimal number of employees. It will, however, enable NCS to 
move towards its goal of meeting the burial needs of American 
veterans and their families. 

Also under discussion today is legislation introduced by 
Congressman Bonilla, H.R. 821, which would authorize burial in a 
national cemetery for certain members of the reserve component of 
the Armed Forces who have not performed sufficient active-duty 
service to be deemed a veteran. As in the past, the VFW contin- 
ues to assert that while being a member of the Armed Forces 
Reserve is an important part of our national defense equation, it 
is not equivalent to serving on active duty. As you know, mem- 
bers of the Reserve who have served on active-duty for 180 days 
or longer (90 days in the case of the Persian Gulf War) are 
already deemed veterans for the purpose of VA benefit determina- 
tions, and are eligible for burial in a national cemetery as well 
as the full array of VA benefits and programs that are authorized 
for veterans under Title 38. Basically, this bill would provide 
burials in the national cemeteries for individuals who have not 



72 



served on active duty in the Armed Forces other than for training 
purposes. Thus, we continue to oppose this proposal. 

With respect to the Arlington National Cemetery, the VFW 
continues to view this as a well run cemetery and compliments its 
management. We do note, however, that Arlington is rapidly 
running out of burial space, and we recommend that a portion of 
the Fort Myers land adjacent to Arlington be turned over to it so 
that more veterans may be properly buried there. The VFW also 
views the American Battle Monuments Commission as being very well 
run and of unquestionable importance in memorializing the sacri- 
fice and accomplishments of America's veterans. We can only ask 
that it continue to service in this capacity so admirably. 

Mr. Chairman, once again, on behalf of the entire membership 
of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, I wish to thank you for inviting 
us to take part in today's hearing. Germane resolutions are 
appended to my statement, and I will be happy to respond to any 
questions you may have. 



73 



Resolution No. 720 



PROVIDE FOR AN OPEN NATIONAL CEfETERY IN EVERY STATE 



WHEREAS, there are many states and regions in the United States without an 
open veterans cemetery; and 

WHEREAS, federal and state land ideally suited for cemetery development is 
available in many states; and 

WHEREAS, veterans should be entitled to burial in a veterans cemetery 
reasonably close to their homes; and 

WHEREAS, Department of Veterans Affairs current policies of regionalization 
and state grants do not always ensure that eligible veterans can be interred 
close to their families; now, therefore 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the 93rd National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars of the United States, that we support legislation which would provide at 
least one open national cemetery in each state to ensure that all veterans may 
be buried reasonably close to their families. 



Adopted by the 93rd National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the 
United States, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, August lA-21, 1992. 

Resolution No. 720 



74 



Resolution No. 636 



RESTORE ELIGIBILITY AND INCREASE BURIAL AND PLOT ALLOWANCE 



WHEREAS, all veterans who have served their country honorably and faithfully 
are entitled to a decent burial and final resting place; and 

WHEREAS, the amount payable by VA as a burial allowance ($300) and the amount 
payable as a plot allowance ($150) have remained constant for many years in 
spite of the inflationary spiral; and 

WHEREAS, Public Law 97-35 effective October 1, 1981 restricted the eligibility 
for the $300 burial allowance, greatly reducing the number of veterans who 
previously qualified; and 

WHEREAS, Public Law 101-508 enacted in November 1990, added Insult to injury 
by reducing the number of veterans who would have otherwise been eligible for 
the $150 plot allowance; and 

WHEREAS, these restrictive measures enacted over time were intended purely as 
a cost savings without regard to intrinsic value of this final honor which was 
bestowed by a grateful nation; now, therefore 

BE IT RESOLVED, by the 93rd National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign 
Wars of the United States, legislation be enacted to (1) increase both the VA 
burial and plot allowance to a level reflecting the inflationary impact of the 
intervening years, (2) restore entitlement to the VA burial allowance to those 
categories of veterans eliminated by Public Law 97-35, and (3) restore 
entitlement to the VA plot allowance to those categories of veterans 
eliminated by enactment of Public L^w 101-508. 



Adopted by the 93rd National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the 
United States, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, August 14-21, 1992. 

Resolution No. 636 



75 



STATEMENT OF JOHN R. VITIKACS, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR 
NATIONAL VETERANS AFFAIRS AND REHABILITATION COMMISSION 

THE AMERICAN LEGION 

BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS 

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS 

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

JUNE 10, 1993 



Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

The American Legion appreciates the opportunity to comment 
on national cemetery matters. Before we begin our testimony, we 
wish to welcome Mr. Jerry W. Bowen as Director of the National 
Cemetery System. Mr. Bowen appears to be an excellent choice 
to head the National Cemetery System (NCS) . The American 
Legion will work with Mr. Bowen and the NCS staff to provide 
high quality and dignified service as a final tribute to our 
nation's veterans. 

Mr. Chairman, the manner in which the National Cemetery 
System is operated is very important to The American Legion. 
Recent data shows that NCS interments have increased from 
36,400 in 1973 to 64,602 in FY 1992. FY 1992 marked the 
tenth straight year of increases in the burial rate. In the 
first ten years of VA's administration of NCS (1973 through 
1982), burials averaged 38,679 per year. In the second decade, 
burials rose to an annual average of 55,120. The increase is 
expected to continue until the year 2010 as the World War II 
veteran population ages. 

Currently, there are 114 national cemeteries. As of 
September 1992, 53 were closed, having reached capacity for 
casket burials. Most closed cemeteries can accept cremation 
burials and all of them can inter the spouse or eligible 
children of a family member already buried. NCS expects 
another 12 national cemeteries will close by the year 2000, but 
efforts are underway to forestall four closures by acquiring 
adjacent property (see attachment) . 



76 



A recently completed study of future expansion 
requirements of NCS was conducted by the Logistics Management 
Institute (LMI) and has not yet been released for review. 
This effort was the result of the mandated follow-up to the June 
1987 study (PL 99-576) , conducted by NCS, which identified ten 
areas for expansion. Of the ten areas recommended in the 1987 
study, the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in northern 
California, opened in August 1992, is the only location that is 
now operational. Environmental impact studies have been 
completed in five other locations, yielding preferred sites for 
the establishment of potential new national cemeteries. The 
recently completed LMI study is intended to provide NCS with 
data and guidance for long-range strategic planning through the 
year 2020. 

The new LMI study is based on 1990 census data. 
Significant progress has been made in choosing preferred 
cemetery sites for five large population areas listed in the 
1987 NCS study. These are Albany, NY; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, 
OH; Dallas, TX; and Seattle, WA. We are confident that these 
locations will be listed as priority areas in the new LMI 
study and in the opinion of The American Legion, these five 
locations must be maintained for future NCS expansion. 
Considering so much effort, energy and resources have already 
been expended toward choosing preferred cemetery sites for these 
five areas, we believe it is logical and prudent to carry these 
projects through to completion. 

Mr. Chairman, the issue of where to expand NCS is a 
matter that needs to be resolved and funded. Little debate is 
necessary to suggest that the current alignment of national 
cemeteries is not sufficient to adequately serve the veteran 
community. The President's budget proposal for FY 1994 
requests, only $500,000 in design funds for NCS. Of the five 
areas with completed environmental impact studies, the proposed 
FY 1994 design funding would permit only one location to 



77 



undergo design and planning. The question then is "which one 
should be done first"? A minimum of $2.5 million is necessary 
to accomplish design and planning for the five locations already 
studied. In order to open and operate a new national cemetery, 
an initial start-up investment of $2 million is required, a 
construction appropriation of approximately $10 million per 
cemetery is necessary, with annual maintenance and operations 
cost of $1 million each. 

The American Legion believes that VA must build new 
national cemeteries, expand existing national cemeteries, and 
make a larger commitment to expanding the State Grants Cemetery 
Program. The Legion recommends the recently completed LMI 
study should be released as soon as possible so that a full 
review of the report can be accomplished. 

The American Legion supports H.R. 951, which would change 
the formula for the State Grants Cemetery Program from the 
current 50/50 VA-state alignment to the proposed 65 percent VA/ 
35 percent state funding share. Also, we support the proposal 
to provide a $150 plot allowance for every veteran burial in a 
state veterans' cemetery. We believe this proposal would 
encourage states to participate in the State Grants Cemetery 
Program and to help offset rising expenses. In the long-run, 
both of these proposals will save VA resources. 

The American Legion also supports H.R. 821, a bill to 
provide full burial benefits to National Guard and Reservist 
retirees. We believe the federal government should recognize 
the service provided to the nation by these individuals by 
providing more than just headstones and burial flags as a final 
tribute. Building new national cemeteries would resolve the 
concern of VA that a new category of veterans cannot be 
considered due to restricted resources and limited grave space. 



71-287 0-93-4 



78 



Mr. Chairman, the President's budget proposal for NCS 
for FY 1994 would be $161,000 less than the current year level 
of $70.6 million. In spite of the funding decrease, overall 
staffing is proposed at 5 FTEE above current year levels. The 
President's FY 1994 budget proposal would not permit NCS to 
reduce the current aging equipment backlog of $5.8 million. It 
is anticipated that this cumulative backlog will be maintained 
throughout FY 1994. 

Lastly, Mr. Chairman, The American Legion believes VA 
needs to move ahead and settle the issue of where to locate new 
national cemeteries. The Legion believes a careful review of 
the recent LMI study is necessary to chart the course of 
future NCS expansion. Too much time has already been lost in 
preparing to meet the increasing burial demands of this nation's 
veterans. 



Mr. Chairman, that concludes our statement. 



79 



NATIONAL CEMETERY SYSTEM 
Projected Cemetery Closures (1) 



National Cemetery Closures through end of Fiscal Year 2000. 



Cemetery 

1. Alexandria, LA 

2. Quincy, IL 

3. Florence, SC * 

4. Wood, WI 

5. Natchez, MS 

6. Dayton, OH * 

7. Ft. Sam Houston, TX 

8. Springfield, MO 

9. Woodlawn, NY 

10. Salisbury, NC * 

11. Camp Butler, IL 

12. Little Rock, AR 



(1) Projected cemetery closures are based on estimated 
depletion of all known full casket (developed and 
undeveloped) gravesites. 

* Land acquisition in progress 



Estimated 


Closure 


Sep 


_ 


1994 


Nov 


- 


1994 


May 


- 


1995 


Sep 


- 


1995 


Nov 


- 


1997 


Sep 


- 


1998 


Sep 


- 


1998 


Jan 


- 


1999 


May 


- 


1999 


Sep 


- 


2000 


Sep 


- 


2000 


Sep 


- 


2000 



80 



STATEMENT BY 

COLONEL CHARLES G. SCHREIBER (RET.) 

DIRECTOR, LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITIES 

of the 

NATIONAL GUARD ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES 

to the 

HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS SUBCOMMITTEE 

of the 

HOUSE VETERANS' AFFAIRS COMMITTEE 



10 June 1993 



81 



INTRODUCTION 

It is a pleasure to appear before this committee on behalf 
of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) 
and of the men and women of the National Guard. The active and 
retired members of the National Guard are individuals who, by 
their service to this country, have demonstrated their commitment 
and patriotism. 

Events over the past few years have reinforced the need for 
the citizen-soldier to be available in the first line of defense 
of this nation. During DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM over 74,000 
Army and Air National Guard personnel were called to active duty. 
They represented the more than one-half million men and women 
who, during their career in the Guard, have been willing to 
answer the call when the country needed them. 
ACTIVE DUTY REQUIREMENT 

Each of the veterans benefit programs established in Title 
38, U.S.C. has a specific criteria for eligibility. In addition, 
Section 3103A, Title 38, U.S.C, establishes an overall active 
duty service criteria for entitlement or eligibility to any and 
all of the programs. 

For many years, eligibility for most veterans benefits 
required 180 consecutive days of active duty. In 1981, the 
requirement was changed to 24 consecutive months of active duty 
for all benefits. In either case, only a small percentage of 
National Guard members have completed that amount of consecutive 
active duty days/months within a 20 year career, with the 
exception of prior service personnel, individuals who served in a 
conflict or war, or Active/Guard and Reserve (A6R) personnel. 

The National Guard association appreciates the action of the 
full Veterans' Affairs committee in passing legislation in 1992 
that provided VA Home Loan eligibility for Guard and Reserve 
members with six or more years selected reserve service, and for 
grave markers and a burial flag for those members who achieve 
twenty years of service for retirement. 



82 



The National Guard Association requests that the Committee 
consider one additional benefit in recognition of the sacrifice 
and dedication of those members of the Guard and Reserve who 
complete 20 or more years service. That benefit is eligibility 
for burial in national cemeteries, and federally supported state 
cemeteries, as approved by the House last year. 

The privilege of burial in a national cemetery is a special 
benefit that is revered and must be earned. Let me outline some 
of the reasons why the National Guard Association feels that 
career Guard and Reserve members have earned this privilege. 
NATIONAL GUARD SERVICE 

Until the early 1970s, and the development of the Total 
Force Policy, there were few requirements or opportunities for 
extended periods of active duty for National Guard members. With 
the increased integration of the National Guard into the total 
force under that policy, training and school requirements have 
greatly expanded. In addition, the Guard is taking on more 
missions to support the active forces with humanitarian 
assistance missions, peace keeping missions and possible call-up 
for world wide contingencies. Members of the selected reserve 
have had to balance those demands with the constraints on their 
availability because of their civilian career. 

Through the course of a career in the National Guard, an 
individual has a continuous requirement to be available within 
hours for mobilization and deployment, not just for major 
mobilizations but for any level of conflict. National Guard 
personnel have been involved in operations from Just Cause in 
Panama, to Operation Desert Storm, to flying relief missions in 
war-torn Bosnia and even supply missions to republics of the 
former Soviet Union. 

As Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM demonstrated, the 
National Guard and Reserve no longer perform just a reinforcing 
role. The requirement to train to the same standards as their 
active service counterparts and the receipt of state-of-the-art 



83 



-3- 



equipment has brought about a significant increase in 
professional training requirements. The days when a member 
trained for only 39 days a year -- one weekend a month and two 
weeks in the summer -- are long gone. Currently, officers 
average 80-100 days a year and non-commissioned officers 50-75 
days a year to support their units in maintaining readiness. 
EXISTING POLICY 

We recognize there are legitimate reasons to differentiate 
between active duty service and selected reserve service for 
eligibility for many of the benefits administered by the 
Department of Veterans' Affairs. That same differentiation 
exists in programs administered by the Department of Defense. 

We are not proposing a basic change in the definition of a 
veteran. We are only proposing that we recognize the service of 
Guard and Reserve members who have completed a full career of 20 
or more years, without having completed a continuous active duty 
period of 24 months. The current policy excludes all short 
periods of active duty and all periods of active duty for 
training, regardless of purpose. Such a policy ignores the many 
day-to-day operational missions performed for the Services by 
members of the National Guard and Reserve. While these missions 
clearly provide training and experience, they also fulfill an 
operational need of the services and are identical to the mission 
being performed by active duty personnel. We believe the system 
should recognize that 20 years or more of career selected reserve 
service to this nation is at least equivalent to 24 months of 
active duty service. 
BURIAL IN NATIONAL CEMETERIES 

The Department of Defense 6th Quadrennial Review of Military 
Compensation (6th QRMC) examined the burial issue in 1987, and 
its final report recommended that National guard and Reserve 
members who have completed a 20 year career and are eligible for 
retirement should be authorized burial in national cemeteries. 



84 

-4- 



The 6th QRMC report cited mobilization vulnerability and 
preparedness as the justification for its recommendation. The 
cost estimates provided in the 6th QRMC report indicated an 
estimated increase of 365 burials per year with an annual budget 
increase of approximately $123,000. A more recent cost estimate 
was presented in House Report 102-548, which indicated the 
projected budget authority and outlay costs for this benefit 
would be less than $500,000 a year through Fiscal Year 1997. 

As a result of service in support to Operations DESERT 
SHIELD and DESERT STORM the Department of Veterans' Affairs 
incurred an obligation to over 200,000 members of the National 
Guard and Reserve, who now meet the full definition of veteran. 
They will be eligible for burial in national cemeteries. All 
members of the National Guard were prepared to serve their 
country and it was by happenstance that a particular unit was or 
was not called. 
SUMMARY 

The National Guard Association of the United States 
recognizes and commends the Congress for its continuing support 
of the members of the National Guard and Reserve commensurate 
with their integral role in the Total Force. We are especially 
appreciative of your willingness to allow us testify here today. 

We recognize that the burial issue has other than budget 
constraints. The Department of Veterans' Affairs, in 
correspondence with the Association in 1990, stated that the 
cemetery system could not support the existing eligible 
population. They cited the reduced availability of burial spaces 
for all veterans at that time, based on limited cemetery 
properties and the growing demand generated by the large group of 
aging World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans. They 
concluded by stating that granting this change in law would not 
provide a tangible benefit to the National Guard community. 

Since that time, additional individuals are now eligible as a 
result of Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. This will add to 



85 



-5- 



the requirement for revised estimates and long-term planning for 
the national cemetery system. We respectfully submit that one of 
the considerations in this planning should be the eligibility of 
.20-year career Guard and Reserve members. 

It may be true that burial space in cemeteries operated by 
the Department of Veterans' Affairs will not be readily 
available. However, current statute and policy do not restrict 
just availability to national cemeteries. They apply to state 
cemeteries, which are built or supported partially through 
federal funding. This additional restriction places an even 
greater restriction on Guard and Reserve members. 

We strongly recommend that this committee support changes to 
statute and regulation that would extend the eligibility for 
burial in national cemeteries and state cemeteries funded in part 
by federal funding. These changes would have no affect on the 
Department of Defense budget and would have minimal effect on the 
budget of the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Extension of 
these benefits would send a powerful message of recognition and 
appreciation for dedication and sacrifice, on behalf of the 
defense of this nation, to the men and women of the National 
Guard and their families. 



86 



STATEMENT OF 

MICHAEL P. CLINE (RET) 

MASTER SERGEANT 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 

BEFORE THE 
HOUSE VETERANS' AFFAIRS COMMITTEE 

ON 

BURIAL BENEFITS 

FOR NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS 

10 JUNE 1993 



87 



Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Committee: 

It is a pleasure to appear before this committee on behalf of 
the Enlisted men and women of the Enlisted Association National 
Guard of the United states (EAMGUS) . During Operations Desert 
Shield and Desert storm active and retired members of the National 
Guard demonstrated their commitment and patriotism to our Country. 
EANGDS would like to thank Congressman Sangmeister for holding 
hearings that will benefit the National Guard and Reserve Component 
Soldier and Airman, and we appreciate the opportunity to appear 
before this committee. 

National Cemetery System 

One year ago, EANGUS testified that funding and staffing for 
the National Cemetery System (NCS) was short of required levels. 
At that time a recommendation was made to establish a separate 
appropriation for the operation and maintenance of national ceme- 
teries rather than permitting the resources for the cemeteries to 
be mixed with the General Accounting Expense appropriation. 
Although this has been successfully accomplished throughout the 
National Cemetery System, major and minor construction funding for 
the NCS must continue to keep pace with current and future 
requirements. The additional FY 1992 & 1993 funding for the NCS 
has been effectively utilized in the purchase of needed equipment, 
supplies, and services. 

Mr. Chairman, funding for major and minor NCS construction has 
never been sufficient. Major construction funding has averaged 
approximately half of required funding. 

A shortage of required major construction funding continues to 
impair the minor construction funding program. Many major projects 
which could be funded under one contract provided adequate monies 
were available, have to be reduced to minor projects, and can only 
be completed over a several-year period. This process is more 
costly and time-consuming than providing sufficient funds in one 
budget. Necessary minor projects have to be continually delayed so 
that higher priority projects can receive some of the available 
funding. National Cemetery System officials have to annually 



consider which major and minor projects can slip and still provide 
the NCS the ability to bury individuals. New gravesite development 
has been the philosophy pursued by OHB in recent years. As 
existing cemeteries get older and new acreage is added to the 
system, the need for repairs and maintenance also grows. 

We believe this Subcommittee can greatly assist the NCS in 
obtaining the required level of major and minor construction 
funding by annually reviewing VA's funding request sent to OMB, and 
compare that figure, along with the proposed project list, with the 
final administration proposal. 

Recommendation for Expansions of the NCS 

We further encourage existing military installations that are 
scheduled to be closed to also be released to the VA. Land is 
usually wide open on bases, so very little construction would have 
to be done. Some bases have as many as three or four golf courses, 
areas that are already maintained within peaceful surroundings. 
They are easily accessed by pre-existing roads and require low 
maintenance because irrigation systems, maintenance systems & 
maintenance crews are already in place. Playgrounds and/or 
athletic fields also could be utilized for gravesites. 

EAMGUS also encourage states to establish their own military 
cemeteries under the VA guidelines. The existing regional system 
may not be accessible and we believe that the families of loved 
ones of those veterans who have served our Nation proudly should be 
near the cemetery where their loved ones are interred and that 
People living in the Southwest should not have to travel 800 miles 
to visit the nearest national cemetery. 

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) 

The principle functions of ABMC are to commemorate the 
achievements and sacrifices of members of the United States Armed 
Forces who have served their country since 1917 through the 
erection and maintenance of suitable memorial shrines; to design, 

2 



89 



construct, administer and maintain permanent American military 
burial grounds in foreign countries; to control the design and 
construction on foreign soil of U.S. military monuments and markers 
by other U.S. citizens and organizations, both public and private; 
and to encourage these organizations and individuals to adequately 
maintain the monuments and markers erected by them. These veterans 
include many National Guard members. 

Caring for shrines to our War Dead requires an annual program 
of maintenance, repair and improvement of facilities, vehicles and 
equipment, grounds maintenance, and the care and replacement of 
vegetation. Also included is upkeep of graves and headstones, 
memorial structures, quarters, utility and maintenance areas, miles 
of roads and paths, shrubs and ornzunental trees. Because of 
austere appropriations as a result of our Country's decreasing 
annual budget, ABMC has developed an unfunded backlog of repairs, 
maintenance and improvement projects over the past 8 years. 

H.R. 821 Burial Benefits 
for 20 year Veterans of the 
National Guard & Reserve 

I am sure you are aware that our Association represents the 
Enlisted men and women of the Army and Air National Guard. We feel 
that legislation such as this will improve the lives of our 
members. EANGDS requests that this committee acknowledge the 
dedicated service of members of the National Guard by granting them 
the privilege of burial in National Cemeteries. Offering more 
benefits to these dedicated "citizen soldiers" makes them feel that 
all their sacrifices are recognized. These incentives help boost 
the morale of our Guard members, motivating them to be more dutiful 
and responsive to their respect-ive military occupations. Whenever 
a Force is highly motivated, it will be better prepared to face 
assigned tasks. Any time a part of our Armed Forces is better 
prepared for duty, the security of our Nation is further 
solidified. 

3 



90 



Two 1/2 years ago our Reserve Component Forces were engaged in 
combat in the Middle-East. These Selected Reserve "citizen 
soldiers" volunteered and served shoulder-to-shoulder with active 
duty members of our Armed Forces in various combat operations. It 
must be stressed that when the call for action came, our Selected 
Reserve Forces answered with resounding readiness; 99.9% reported; 
94.7 deployed. Operation Desert Storm is clear evidence that the 
Total Force strength shown in the Persian Gulf would not have been 
possible without our Selective Reserve soldiers/airmen. 1 year ago 
10,000 California National Guard members were engaged in an equally 
dangerous situation, urban warfare in the streets of Los Angeles; 
The Guard proved its value once again. 

ACTIVE DUTY REQUIREMENTS 

Mr. Chairman, much of the controversy about extending 
Veterans' Benefits to National Guard members has centered around 
the amount of time an Active Duty Soldier serves his country 
compared to that of the Reserve Component Soldier. EANGDS hopes to 
clarify perceived misconceptions regarding inconveniences 
experienced between active duty soldiers & Reserve Component 
soldiers. 

Burial benefits focus on the inequity between Active Duty time 
served in order to be eligible for burial benefits and the amount 
of time a Reservist or Guardmember spends on active duty over a 
twenty year period of service, without becoming eligible for the 
same benefit. 

Section 3103A, Title 38, U.S.C., establishes an overall active 
duty service criteria for entitlement or eligibility for any or all 
veterans' benefit programs. In addition, many of the programs have 
a specific criteria for eligibility. 

Until 1981, eligibility for veterans' benefits required 180 
consecutive days of active duty. In 1981, the requirement was 
changed to 24 consecutive months of active duty for all benefit 
progrzuns, except for individuals who served in a conflict or war. 
Under either criteria, with the exception of prior service person- 

4 



91 



nel or Active/Guard and Reserve (AGR) personnel, only a small 
percentage of National Guard and Reserve members would have 
completed that amount of consecutive active duty days/months within 
a 20 year career. 

Any honorably discharged Active Duty member of the Armed 
Forces who has served a minimum of 2 years is eligible for burial 
benefits. From the moment active duty personnel complete basic 
training, they begin to accrue time towards receiving benefits. 
Active duty soldiers are allowed to count individual training days 
that were spent attending schools during their enlistment. Active 
Duty personnel also receive credit for time served while attending 
schools that are required by their respective Force to properly 
train them in their military specialty. 

The major injustice of the whole system is that Selected 
Reserve Soldiers do not accrue time for their active duty service 
for training. Their active duty time only counts towards retire- 
ment pay for service over and above twenty years. This amount 
cannot be collected until age 60. 

Information just obtained from the Department of Defense 
indicates that the average Enlisted National Guard member spends 
approximately 60 days a year on active duty. An additional 6 
months is spent on active duty to complete initial and advance 
phases of basic training, just like the Active Duty Soldier. 
During a twenty year enlistment, Guardmembers are required to 
attend specialty schools which average from 270 to 360 days of 
Active Duty for training. 

2 Year Enlistment 
Basic training/Advance Schools 180 180 

A.D. training days x 20 year service 1200 1200 

9 months to 12 months additional A.D. training 360 360 

Total 1650 1740 

An average of 4.52 years to 4.77 

years of Active Duty training. 



92 



The average Active Duty Soldier spends approximately 220 days 
a year on Duty - (Based on 30 days leave - weekends off - Holidays 
- otber medical and personal time off) for a total of 440 days of 
actual service on Duty during a two year enlistment period. 

Both Active Duty and Reserve Component Soldiers must be 
available for military service 365 days a year. 60% or more of 
Reserve Component Soldiers are already eligible for burial benefits 
due to prior service or for otber reasons. That leaves only 40% or 
less of all Selected Reserve members who would possibly benefit 
from a change in the law as it now stands. Testimony given 
previously before the House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee by a 
representative of the American Cemetery Association stated that, 
"According to VA figures, less than 15% of veterans eligible for 
burial in a National cemetery choose National Cemetery System 
interment." The 6th QRMC reported that the increase in the 
estimated number of burials for eligible members of the Selected 
Reserve wotild be at a rate of approximately 365 per year or 0.5 
percent of the current eunount of burials. The Veterans' 
Administration has estimated that to implement the QRMC 
recommendation, it would only have to increase its budget by 
approximately $123,000 annually. Cost estimates presented in House 
Report 102-548, filed by the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, 
indicates that the projected budget authority and outlay costs will 
be less than $500,000 a year for FY 1993 through FY 1997. This 
budget estimate includes the provision in H.R. 4368 of the 102nd 
Congress to provide a burial flag. Therefore, giving the 2 year 
Reserve Component Soldier a proper Military burial is not an un- 
reasonable demand. 

SUMMARY 

The Enlisted Association of the National Guard applauds the 
efforts of the House Veteran's Affairs Committee for its continuing 
support of the Enlisted Men and Women of the National Guard and 
Reserve component. 



93 



It is not the intent or desire of EANGDS to solicit Veteran 
Status for members of the Selected Reserve who have not earned that 
distinction by definition of Title 38, O.S.C. However, it is not 
an unreasonable request to pay recognition to those who have dedi- 
cated more than a 1/4 of their lives to the service of their 
country by providing for interment in a National Cemetery. We 
urge this committee to pass this legislation. Extension of these 
benefits will send a strong message of recognition and appreciation 
for the sacrifices made by our Enlisted Men and Women of the 
National Guard & Reserve, who for more than 356 years have dedi- 
cated their service to the Defense of our great Nation. 

-END- 



94 



BOARD OF GOVERNORS 

DISTRICT No 1 
Nnr York SUI« and Nmm England 
ROGER ABBATE 
P.O. Bo« 330099 
Wasr HarKorO. CT 06133-0099 
TEL: (203) 95J-1060 
FAX (203)953-5681 
DISTRICT No 2 
Eul«(n and Somrwm SUIM 
WialAM CI.£ME^fTZ 
2411 CfyslaJDove 
FL Meyers. FL 33907 
TEL (813)936-1053 
FAX: (613) 936-5122 
OrSTRtCTNo 3 
Pannaytvania and Nvm Janay 
HAROLD T. HALL. JH. 
PO. Boi 173 
Vanasquan. NJ 08736 
TEl; (906) 363-8733 



WILLIAM SWEENEY 

131 Undutl Avenue 

Steubenville. OH 43952 

TEL (614) 264-1113 
OlSTniCT No 5 
Indtana and Mcrugan 
MARK R, MINNICK 

P.O Box 11100 

Fl Wayne. IN 46655 

TEL- (219)432-5031 

FAX 1219)432-4568 
DISTRICT No 6 
llMX>ia. Wisconar and Canada 
HUGH McOUESTICN 

12780 W Usbon Road 

BrooklieKl. Wl 53005 

TEL (414) 781-6262 

FAX: (414) 761-6280 
DISTRICT No 7 

waslem and Southweaiam Stalas 
JIMWIENS 

110 Boya Avenue 

Newton, KS 671 14 

TEL (316) 263-3790 

FAX. (316) 284-2541 



THE NATIONAL CONCRETE BURIAL VAULT ASSOCIATION, INC. 

P.O. Box 130201, St. Paul, MN 55113 
1-800-538-1423 




STATEMENT OF NATIONAL CONCRETE BURIAL VAULT 
ASSOCIATION BY JERRY J. BROWN 



SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS 



HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS 



President: 

SANDY GRAFFIUS 
P O Box 2040 
Sinlung Spnng. PA 19608 
TEL (215)676-4537 
FAX: (215)678-7170 

Vice President: 

HAROLD T HAU, JB 
PO Box 178 
Manasquan, NJ 08736 
TEL: (908) 363-8733 
FAX: (908) 223-0521 

Secretary/Treasurer 

MARK R MINNICK 
PO. Box 11100 
Fl. Wayne, IN 46855 
TEL: (219)432-5031 
FAX (219)432-4568 

Executive Director: 

JERRY BROWN 

2280 No Hamline Avenue 
St. Paul, MN 55113-4289 
TEL (612)631-1234 
FAX (612)631-1428 

Executive Directors Ex Officio 

GERALD L. HARDY 
P O Box 4064 
So Chelmsford. MA 01824 
TEL: (508) 452-3588 
FAX (508) 250-4969 



JUNE 10, 1993 



ALTERNATES 

DISTRICT No 1 
JAMES A. JACOBS 

70 O Connor Road 

Fairpon, NY 14450 

TEL (716) 377-5100 

FAX: (716) 377-0727 
DISTRICT No. 2 
WARREN CHANDLER 

4700 Allanu Highway 

Began. GA 30622 

TEL (706)353-1115 

FAX: (706) 353-0774 
DISTRICT fto 3 
LARRY BRUEN 

PO Boi9 

333 South Fifsl Street 

Bangor. PA 16013 

TEl.: (215) 588-5259 

FAX; (215) 588-0452 
DISTRICT No a 
RALPH SEISLOVE 

TiitaOHSSM""""" involvement with and oversight of the National 

TEL (419) 447-5473 

DISTRICT No 5 
TIMOTHY BHUTSCHE 
P.O. Box 1031 
Battle Creek, Ml 49016 
TEL (616)963-1554 
FAX (616)963-6109 

DISTRICT No 6 
O.J. BOLANOER 
Hv«y 33 Easi 
P.O. Box 323 
Newton, 1L 62448 
TEL (618)783-2416 



The National Concrete Burial Vault 
Association ("NCBVA") was foundecJ in the 1930s, and 
is made up of concrete burial vault manufacturers 
from the United States and Canada. Our association 
represents the national franchisors as well as a 
host of independent grave liner companies. We thank 
the Members of this Subcommittee for your continued 



EARL J. BRUTSCHE 
PO Box 1031 
Battle Creek, Ml 49016 
TEL (516)963-1554 
(813) 795-0268 
FAX: (616)963-6109 

General Counsel 

J SCOTT CALKINS, ESQ 

223 N Front Street 

PO. Box 1188 

Harnsburg, PA 17108 

TEL: (717)234-3281 



WAYNE ELMORE 
P O. Box 7361 
Omaha, NE 68107 
TEL (402) 731-1452 
FAX: (402) 731-6375 



Cemetery System. The National Cemetery System is a 
source of pride, sacrifice, tradition and profound 
national awareness. Programs within the 
jurisdiction of this Subcommittee are critical to 
preserving and perpetuating the quintessential 
concept of memorializing the lives and deeds of 
Americans who have died in the service of our nation. 



95 



- 2 - 

These are crucial times for our National Cemetery System. 
As we enter the mid 1990s, many of our World War II and Korean War 
Veterans will be approaching their late 60s and early 70s. A 
decade or so later the Vietnam era veterans will follow. Over the 
last few years we have witnessed a decline in veterans' burial 
benefits. Laws such as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 
1990 (P.L. 101-508) have taken away benefits, and this will almost 
certainly lead to an increased reliance and strain on the National 
Cemetery System. 

Part of this Subcommittee's focus today relates to the 
needed resources required to efficiently and effectively operate 
the National Cemetery System. Our association members manufacture 
grave liners used in the National Cemetery System. Their use is 
mandated pursuant to Section 504 of Public Law 101-237 (103 STAT. 
2094) in that, effective January 1, 1990, the government must 
provide "a grave liner for each new grave in an open cemetery 
within the National Cemetery System in which remains are interred 
in a casket." The use of grave liners within the National Cemetery 
System goes a long way in conserving these resources and indeed, 
their use makes economic good sense. Particularly, concrete grave 
liners, like those manufactured by our members, are dependable and 
proven and this translates into better value. 

The NCBVA is currently working with the Department of 
Veterans Affairs to develop and implement minimum performance 
standards for all types of outer burial receptacles, as further 
assurance of their quality and to promote the use of standard 
specifications on sizes, design and construction, workmanship and 
materials. Most importantly, the purpose of any outer burial 
receptacle is to eliminate both short and long term maintenance on 
the part of the cemetery. The 5,000 pound Center Load Pressure 
Test, which we propose as the main criteria for performance, 
regardless of material, represents 99% of the possible load 



96 



- 3 - 

conditions that might occur during the interment process. Thus, 
the test is a simply administered indicator of an outer burial 
receptacle's ability to perform load requirements under cemetery 
conditions. The receptacles should withstand changes in the water 
table and pressures from the freeze-thaw cycle where applicable. 
Receptacle designs must be able to withstand the dynamic, 
differential and impact loads and stresses which are exerted upon 
a unit during the interment process. Such loads and stresses 
include compaction of the backfill soil, excavation of adjoining 
gravesites, as well as the pressures and forces exerted by normal 
cemetery excavation, compaction and maintenance equipment. 

As the NCBVA has in past testimony before this 
Subcommittee, we continue to support the fundamental position of 
requiring outer-burial receptacles for interments within the 
National Cemetery System, which corresponds with over 90% of the 
nation's public, private and denominational cemeteries, for the 
following reasons: (i) promotes fiscal responsibility by keeping 
grave maintenance costs down, (ii) promotes safety, (iii) addresses 
health and environmental concerns (particularly the use of burial 
vaults) , specifically those pertaining to potential subsoil and 
groundwater contamination, and (iv) the use of grave liners 
enhances cemetery aesthetics. 

However, we are acutely aware that these programs have 
costs and that this Subcommittee and the Department of Veterans 
Affairs operate under certain budget restrictions. Available 
resources and funding can stretch only so far and we realize that 
there are other important veterans' programs and that there may not 
be enough to do what we really want to do with respect to veterans' 
burial benefits. One area that we feel should be examined for 
potential savings within the National Cemetery System relates to 
the free grave liner program. 



97 



- 4 - 

There is an inherent contradiction and fundamental 
unfairness associated with the VA grave liner program. During a 
time of tight fiscal restraints, the program's capital and 
administrative costs which for all active National Cemeteries for 
fiscal year 1993 is estimated at approximately $5,266,000, a large 
expense for a small percentage of veterans that benefit. The free 
grave liner provided for interments at all National Cemeteries 
promotes an imbalance in the veteran's death benefits system. The 
overwhelming majority (90%) of veterans that die each year are 
buried in public, private or denominational cemeteries (where outer 
burial receptacles are required) and the next-of-)cin is responsible 
for all burial costs. Thus, the remaining 10%, who have access to 
the National Cemetery System receive, at no cost to the next-of- 
kin: (i) grave space, (ii) grave liner, (iii) opening and closing 
of the grave, (iv) perpetual care of the grave, and (v) a grave 
marker. 

The NCBVA recognizes the principal of equal benefits for 
equal service and the tradition of providing burial at no cost in 
national cemeteries, however, when we consider today's budgetary 
realities and the fact that only 10% of veterans who die each year 
choose a National Cemetery for burial, we feel that the freeing of 
those funds currently used for the grave liner program for use 
elsewhere within the veterans community could benefit all parties 
involved, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Cemetery 
System, veterans and the membership of our organization. The 
acquisition of grave liners by the National Cemetery System has 
been accompanied through the bidding and awarding of government 
contracts, which have a duration of between one and three years. 
The grave liners supplied under these contracts represent less than 
1% of the annual revenues of our industry. Eliminating the program 
could lead to some increased revenues, but would more importantly 
eliminate the burden of government contracting. 



98 



- 5 - 
The NCBVA continues to support increased veterans 
benefits, but also feels a responsibility to work with the 
Conunittee, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National 
Cemetery System in making any required reductions in the provided 
benefits as equitable and fair as possible. 



99 




AMERICAN CEMETERY ASSOCIATION 

Three Skyline Place, Suite 1111 • 5201 Leesliurg Pike • Falls Church, Virginia 22041 
Phone: (703) 379-5838 • loll Free 1-800-645-7700 • FAX (703) 998-0162 



Stephen L. Morgan, CCE 
Executive Vice President 



June 4, 1993 



The Honorable George E. Sangmeister 

Chairman 

Subcommittee on Housing and Memorial Affairs 

Committee on Veterans' Affairs 

U.S. House of Representatives 

335 Cannon House Office Building 

Washington, D.C. 20515 

Dear Chairman Sangmeister: 

The American Cemetery Association appreciates your invitation to testify at 
the Subcommittee hearing on June 10, 1993, concerning the operational needs of the 
National Cemetery System in view of existing fiscal restraints. We understand that 
you are also seeking comment on H.R. 821, a bill which would extend eligibility for 
burial in national cemeteries to reservists with twenty years of service. Therefore, we 
respectfully submit our views and request that this letter be made part of the hearing 
record. 

The American Cemetery Association ("ACA") represents over 2,000 members 
including private, religious, and municipal cemeteries. For many years the ACA has 
expressed concern over the expansion of the National Cemetery System in the 
absence of studies projecting the significant long-term costs for maintaining gravesites 
in perpetuity. ACA has also expressed its opposition to the growing disparity in 
burial benefits for veterans choosing interment in national/state veterans cemeteries 
and those choosing burial in private or religious cemeteries. 

The 1990 Veterans Benefits and Services Reconciliation Conference agreement 
significantly curtailed the eligibility of veterans to receive the $150 plot allowance. In 
particular, wartime veterans who were not otherwise receiving VA compensation or 
benefits were no longer eligible for the plot allowance unless they are interred in 



Gl'AKDlANS OF OCR NATION S IIKKITAC.K 



100 



The Honorable George E. Sangmeister 
June 4, 1993 
Page 2 of 3 



state veterans cemeteries. The Conference agreement also eliminated the marker 
reimbursement allowance. 

The justification given for these cutbacks was the need to reduce the federal 
deficit, a goal never achieved. The curtailment of the plot allowance only resulted in 
the discrimination against veterans and their families who chose, for personal or 
religious reasons, to be interred in non-governmental cemeteries. 

The VA Benefits Administration Chief of Staff, Mr. Harold F. Gracey, 
acknowledged this disparity in his March 4, 1993 testimony before this Subcommittee. 
Commenting on H.R. 951, now incorporated into H.R. 949, which would extend plot 
allowance payments to state veterans cemeteries which inter any veteran, Mr. Gracey 
stated, "...this modification of the eligibility criteria for the plot allowance would 
unfairly discriminate against peacetime veterans buried in private cemeteries, who are 
not eligible for a plot allowance, and would further exacerbate the existing disparity 
between veterans buried in state and private cemeteries ." (Emphasis added). 

The National Cemeteries Act of 1973, P.L. 93-43, created the National 
Cemetery System and became the basis for the current administration of veterans' 
burial benefits including the plot allowance and a $300 burial allowance. This law 
established a balance between the obligation of the federal government to provide 
burial benefits and to respect the veterans' freedom of choosing a final resting place. 

Thus, eligible veterans could choose between interment in a national or state 
cemetery, or where convenience of location, existing family burial sites, or religious 
considerations were important factors, receive benefits to facilitate interment in 
private, religious, or municipal cemeteries. The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1981 
abolished the $300 burial allowance to wartime veterans not otherwise receiving 
compensation or pensions. The 1990 budget agreement, referenced above, continued 
the erosion of equitable burial benefits. 

The ACA estimates that Congress has effectively disqualified approximately 70 
percent of the veterans originally entitled to receive these burial benefits. We also 
believe that such discriminatory criteria may force a reliance on national cemeteries 
by veterans which will ultimately drive up the overall cost of providing any form of 
burial benefits and place fiscal demands on the National Cemetery System which 
were never intended. 

For example, the one-time payment of the $150 plot allowance served about 
85 percent of veterans applying for burial benefits prior to its curtailment in late 
1990. However, burial in national cemeteries entails an ongoing and continually 



101 



The Honorable George E. Sangmeister 
June 4, 1993 
Page 3 of 3 



escalating cost to the federal government and taxpayers to provide maintenance and 
related cemeterial services indefinitely. The anticipated cost savings through 
curtailment of the plot allowance wrongly assumed that affected veterans will not 
collect such benefits through a much more costly method of entering the National 
Cemetery System instead. 

H.R. 821, which extends national cemetery benefits to twenty-year reservists, 
only exacerbates this disparity in benefits and will further burden the overall fiscal 
demands on the NCS. In the event that burial benefits are extended to qualified 
reservists, the plot and marker allowances should be included as cost-efficient 
options. 

For these reasons, the ACA urges the Subcommittee to recommend the 
restoration of the plot and marker reimbursement eligibility requirements to pre-1990 
standards, and to restore funding for these basic veterans benefits in a fair, equitable 
manner. We believe such action will reduce the long-term operating costs of the 
NCS including the interminable expenses of maintaining in excess of one million 
gravesites in perpetuity. 

We also recommend the formation of a blue-ribbon commission of government 
and private sector experts to study the issues involved in providing a fiscally sound 
burial policy for our nation's veterans. Thank you. 



Sincerely, 




Stephen L. Morgan, CCi 
Executive Vice President 
SLM:mws 



102 

WRITTEN COMMITTEE QUESTIONS AND THEIR RESPONSES 

Chairman Sangmeister to Department of Veterans Affairs 

CONGRESSMAN SANGMEISTER 

Question la; VA's 1987 Report to Congress identified 10 sites to establish new national 
cemeteries. I understand that the Department contracted for a second follow up Report to 
Congress with Logistics Management Institute (LMI). As required by Public Law 99-576, the 
second report should have been released to Congress earlier this year. What is the delay in having 
the follow up report released and delivered to Congress? 

Answer: The report, prepared by the Logistics Management Institute, has been completed We 
are now taking the demographic information from this study and preparing it in conjunction with 
our overall policy concerning new cemetery construction. The last NCS policy was formulated in 
November 1990 by the previous secretary, and the current administration is reviewing the 
feasibility of that policy The LMI study will give us some data to help formulate a new policy, 
which will be incorporated into the report to Congress. 

Question lb: Please provide for the hearing record an update on the status of each of the 10 
sites identified in the 1987 report and indicate what actions including an estimated time frame are 
still needed in the environmental, design and construction process. 

Answer: 

No. California: The San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery opened in June 1992. 
The cemetery is located in Gustine, California 

The following sites are in various stages of planning. Funding for further construction progress 
will be requested in fliture budget requests, subject to the availability of resources and system- 
wide priorities. 

Albany: EIS process completed in September 1992 with the selection of a 200-acre site 1/2 mile 
north of the Saratoga Battlefield Site has been surveyed, and title policy received VA Real 
Property Management Staff is reviewing several real estate issues associated with the property. 
VA has selected LA Group of Saratoga, NY to prepare the master plan. Appraisals have been 
received and preliminary title and Offers to Sell are under review. EIS, planning, and site 
acquisition funding was approved in the 1988 and 1991 major construction budgets. 

Chicago: EIS process was completed in October 1991 with the selection of Fort Sheridan. 
Secretary of Defense declined VA's offer to purchase approximately 160 acres of land at Fort 
Sheridan for $6.9 million Secretary Brown announced that VA was ending its efforts to use part 
of Fort Sheridan as a national cemetery. VA is pursuing preparation of a supplemental EIS that 
will review and update demographic data on the sites included in the original EIS, screen other 
potential sites, and consider property located at the Joliet Arsenal. EIS, planning, and site 
acquisition funding was provided in the 1988 and 1991 major construction budgets. 

Cleveland: EIS process completed in January 1993 with selection of a site in Guilford Township, 
Medina County. VA has begun the property acquisition process, and has obtained legal 
description and ordered a property survey Title work and appraisal will be ordered upon 
completion of the survey VA has interviewed A/E firms for master planning and Phase I design. 
EIS, planning, and site acquisition funding was provided in the 1988 and 1991 major construction 
appropriations 

Dallas/Tort Worth: EIS process completed in October 1992 with selection of a site at 
Mountain Creek While funding has been provided for master planning, funds have not yet been 
approved for land acquisition VA has nevertheless gone forward by selecting an A/E firm to 
prepare a master plan. 

Detroit: Funds were made available in the 1992 budget for completion of an EIS The contract 
to conduct the EIS was awarded in February 1993 Advertisements for suitable properties (160- 
200 developable acres) were placed in local newspapers and 45 sites were offered. Of this total, 
1 1 were eliminated as not suitable, while another 17 were withdrawn by the owners During the 
last week of April 1993, a VA Site Selection Board visited the remaining 17 sites, which were 
determined suitable for cemeterial operations, and has prepared recommendations as to which 
sites should be included in the EIS 

Miami (South Florida): Funds were made available in the 1992 budget for completion of an 
EIS Following advertisements for property, 10 sites were identified as suitable A VA Site 
Selection Board has recommended the top five of these, based on factors of cost, economic 



103 



impact, and suitability for cemeterial operations A contract to conduct the EIS has been 
awarded 

Oklahoma Cilv: Funds were made available in the 1991 budget for completion of an EIS From 
58 sites offered in response to VA public solicitation, 3 sites were selected for inclusion in the 
EIS The contract for conduct of the EIS was awarded in July 1992. Following preliminary 
drafts and VA review, the draft EIS was distributed to the Congressional delegation and other 
interested parties, and filed with the EPA in February 1993. The preliminary final EIS will be 
submitted to VA for review by June 28, 1993, and the Site Selection Board will recommend the 
preferred alternative for inclusion in the final EIS. 

Pittsburgh: Funds were provided in the 1991 appropriation for completion of an EIS From a 
total of 45 parcels of land offered in response to public advertisement, 22 sites were identified as 
suitable A VA Site Review Board investigated the sites and recommended eight for further 
evaluation. Following award of the EIS contract and initial site investigations, the Site Selection 
Board has recommended five sites for inclusion in the EIS. These sites have been approved for 
inclusion in the EIS and the consultant instructed to proceed with the EIS. 

Seattle: EIS process was completed in April 1992 selecting Tahoma as the site for the new 
national cemetery VA began the acquisition process to purchase the 160+ acres from the 
Washington State Department of Natural Resources The State made a formal Offer to Sell in 
January 1993 Following review of the appraisal, The Secretary of VA formally accepted the 
State's Offer to Sell The offer will now be ratified by the State of Washington Executive Board 
during their July session VA will take necessary steps for closing and final title review following 
ratification. These actions will be completed by September 1993 VA has also announced the 
award of a contract to prepare the master plan to a Bellevue, Washington A/E firm. EIS, 
planning, and site acquisition fijnding was approved in the 1988 and 1991 major construction 
budgets 

Question Ic: Many of the veteran groups have testified that VA must do more to expedite the 
processes involved in site selection, environmental assessments and construction to establish new 
national cemeteries What recommendations do you have that would streamline and shorten>the 
number of years to build new national cemeteries? 

Answer: 

We have continued to learn from our experiences in establishing new national cemeteries and 
therefore, have streamlined the process with each new effort. The primary issues and 
recommendations associated with means to shorten the time frame are as follows: 

• Site selection - Updated veteran demographics and designation of a 75 mile service radius 
have served to focus on specific areas where a site is desired 

• Environmental assessments - In all instances, establishment of a new national cemetery 
requires preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Satisfying 
requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act does take blocks of time that are 
beyond our control VA has standardized Statement of Tasks for EIS consultants and 
these consultants have become acquainted with the VA process. These improvements 
help reduce the timeline. 

• VA's Construction Methodology has, also, served to make the process more eflTicient 
through the steps of master planning, design development, contract documents, and actual 
construction. In the future, the process of design-build may be applied to new cemetery 
development. 



104 



Question 2a: Design flinds in the FY 94 budget total only $500,000 If VA still plans to move 
forward with establishing new cemeteries in Albany, Cleveland, Chicago, Seattle and Dallas how 
will these funds be spent? Do you expect to request design funds in FY 95 and beyond for the 
other cemeteries? 

Answer: If we proceed with these five cemeteries, the acquisition process will probably allow 
serious consideration of design at Seattle. Land at Tahoma will be acquired in March 1994 if 
current timetables hold This will give us six more months in the fiscal year to award a design 
contract There is enough flexibility in the design fund also to allow us to fijnd Albany and 
Cleveland if other events fall into place. As for Dallas, fiinds are not currently available for us to 
purchase the land at the Mountain Creek site We are proceeding with some master planning 
from appropriated master plan funds to identify more accurately the portion of land that we 
specifically need at the site We cannot go ahead with the design award until we have monies 
available to purchase the land. The Department of Defense rejected VA's offer to purchase 160 
acres at Fort Sheridan for $6 9 million for the establishment of a national cemetery in the Chicago 
area Therefore, a supplemental EIS will need to be prepared that will review and update 
demographic data on the sites included in the original EIS, screen other potential sites, and 
consider property located at the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (JAAP). VA plans to request 
design funds for Chicago following a decision on the ultimate site. 

Question 2b: 1 understand that the Appropriations Subcommittee for VA-HUD and Independent 
Agencies has recommended adding $22 million to VA's Major Construction Projects account for 
the advance planning fund, the design fijnd and for site acquisition for additional medical, 
cemeterial and regional office projects If enacted with the $22 million addition, does NCS plan 
to request design, site acquisition or construction funds for any of these five new cemeteries. 

Answer: If enacted with the $22 million addition earmarked for the design, site acquisition or 
construction of specific projects, NCS will comply with the intent of Congress as quickly as 
possible If the $22 million addition is enacted without being earmarked for specific projects, 
NCS will submit design, site acquisition or construction plans for these five new cemeteries for 
consideration in the VA's overall major construction program. 

Question 3: I alluded in my opening statement that the Administration's FY 1994 budget for 
NCS is essentially static. With a baseline of $70.5 million how does NCS plan to prevent a 
decline in services to veterans and in the physical appearance of our cemeteries as workloads 
continue to increase? Would lawn maintenance be curtailed (grass cut once every 7 days vs. 5 
days, one vs two applications of fertilizer/pesticides), repair and replacement of equipment 
further delayed, or minor construction projects be eliminated? Would burials be delayed as 
cemeteries reduce the number of interments performed on a daily basis? 

Answer The requested level of $70.5 million represents a level that will be sufficient to prevent 
any decline in the operations of NCS. Total FTEE within NCS increased by five These five, as 
well as an additional six FTEE acquired by reducing NCS Central Office employment, have been 
directed to field operations Other savings result from decreased requirements for the Employee 
Compensation payment to the Department of Labor and from reductions in planned spending for 
replacement equipment The revised replacement equipment fijnding level will permit NCS to 
maintain the progress achieved through 1993 against the replacement equipment backlog, but it 
will not permit further progress to be made in 1994 

Question 4: Extending the life of currently open national cemeteries needs to be closely 
examined With 55 national cemeteries closed and more than 10 scheduled to close before the 
year 2000, how has VA determined its plans to acquire additional land for gravesite expansion at 
existing national cemeteries? Please provide a listing with an estimated acquisition time for the 
hearing record? 

Answer: 

In February 1992, the National Cemetery System completed Phase I of a study to identify national 
cemeteries where contiguous undeveloped land existed that would be suitable for cemetery use. 
All open national cemeteries that were projected to close before the year 2000 were considered. 



105 



Phase II of the study, completed in September 1992, further analyzed the identified open national 
cemeteries by giving consideration to veteran demographics, the proximity of other open national 
cemeteries and the projected longevity of their open operations, and the estimated cost per 
developed gravesite if the land were to be acquired and developed 

The study recommended active pursuit of land acquisition at Barrancas, Camp Butler, Florence*, 
Ft Bliss*, Ft Gibson*, Jefferson Barracks and Woodlawn National Cemeteries The study 
recommended against actively pursuing land acquisition at Beaufort, Culpeper and Hampton 
National Cemeteries. 

*Land acquisition is currently in progress. 

The National Cemetery System has not established a time frame for acquisition of land at the 
remaining open national cemeteries recommended for expansion. 

Question 5: The FY 94 budget states that the equipment backlog will be reduced to $5 8 million 
at the end of FY 1993 and that an additional $3 million is scheduled for new replacement in FY 
1994 If this is the case, and considering the current budget climate, it appears that increases will 
continue to mount in the area of equipment backlog If so, how does NCS plan to address this 
concern? 

Answer: By the end of 1993, the backlog of equipment in need of replacement will be reduced to 
$5 8 million With the need to reduce the Federal budget deficit, the National Cemetery System 
has requested only sufficient flinding in 1994 to maintain the progress already made against the 
backlog, no further progress will be made that year 



Question 6 Recent VA budgets have included funding to support the implementation of a Burial 
Operations Support System (BOSS) and to update and convert the Automated Monument 
Application System (AMAS) Does the FY 94 budget contain adequate funding for these 
systems? 

Answer; The National Cemetery System has adequate resources to support both BOSS and 
AMAS Validation testing has already started on BOSS at Quantico National Cemetery 
Installation will begin at the national cemeteries before the end of fiscal year 1993, and the system 
will be fully operational by the start of fiscal year 1995 AMAS redesign efforts in fiscal year 
1994 will consist solely of preliminary analysis and study of design alternatives Funding for 
software development and hardware will not be required before fiscal year 1995 

Question 7 In your testimony, you state VA's opposition to H R 821, legislation to extend 
eligibility for burial in national cemeteries to Reservists and National Guardsman with 20 years of 
qualified service Considering the Administration's proposed cutbacks for the Reserves and 
National Guard, would the impact of H R. 821 be altered for VA to change its position? Would 
your cost estimate be revised from last year's testimony? 

Answer; As noted in my opening statement before the Committee, VA continues to oppose 
H R 82 1 Aside from the philosophical issue that the term veteran has historically been defined 
as one who once served on active duty, we are concerned with the practical aspects of 
implementing the bill should it pass We already have concerns over accommodating the aging 
Worid War II veteran population Setting up competition, if you will, for national cemetery space 
between those who served on active duty, perhaps even during a period of war, and those who 
did not, will not be easy to administer. The bill provides burial in a national cemetery to those 
who are qualified to receive retirement pay after serving 20 years in the Reserves or National 
Guard, we do not think our cost estimates are affected as we cannot project how many of a 
reduced number of Reserve or National Guard will remain for 20 years. Our figures are based on 
the best estimates available 

Question 8; I would also like to follow up on two issues the Subcommittee addressed last year 
I would appreciate updated information on the issue of traffic congestion and the Drive Through 



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Program at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific as well as a status report on VA's 
negotiations with the Department of the Interior to secure a long-term water contract for the San 
Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Northern California 

Answer: I recently spoke with the cemetery director at the National Memorial Cemetery of the 
Pacific. He has worked closely with members of Senator Akaka's staff, local veterans groups and 
other concerned organizations to reach an acceptable compromise that will accommodate visitors 
while maintaining the dignity of the cemetery The drive-through program will continue. The 
National Cemetery System also fijnds two contract security guards/traffic controllers to ensure the 
safety of visitors and to regulate the flow of traffic. In addition, plans are underway to establish a 
pilot program for a limited guided walking tour that will emphasize the history and tradition of 
our Nation's most visited national cemetery. We are working with veterans service organizations 
on a proposal to establish the tour as a non-profit venture at no cost to the National Cemetery 
System. We hope to implement this test by the beginning of 1994. 

The Director of San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery and the Contract Repayment Specialist- 
Water Contracting for the US Bureau of Reclamation in Sacramento have coordinated a 
contract for water service between the two agencies The term of the contract is for 25 years 
with unlimited renewals and up to 450 acre feet of water per year (325,853 gallons = 1 acre 
foot). Costs are approximately $55 47/acre foot for water (including the cost to transport), and 
$500/month for administrative costs. Anticipated usage for this cemetery is 50 acre feet/year. 

Question 9a: A review of section 2337 of Public Law 100-180, provides authority for the 
Secretary of the Army to transfer not less than 200 acres of land at the Joliet Arsenal to VA for 
use as a national cemetery I would interpret the law to provide continuous authority for the 
Army to convey land at the Joliet Arsenal to VA and this transfer authority could still be used 
today Does VA's Office of General Counsel agree with this position? 

Answer: On June 28, 1993, the Office of the General Counsel provided an opinion in response to 
our initial request for advice on use of Public Law 100-180 § 2337 to transfer land from Joliet 
Army Ammunition Plant (JAAP) to VA . That opinion indicated that the language of the statute 
contains no time limit and continues to authorize the land transfer In the event that JAAP is 
closed, the base closure requirements of 10 U.S.C. § 2687 will apply to the transfer. Also, the 
transfer must be in accordance with applicable environmental requirements. 

Question 9b: As other sites (Grant Park, Cissna Park and Joliet) are now under consideration, I 
would appreciate your outlining VA's planned actions to reach a new Record of Decision, 
including a time frame for the steps involved to build a new national cemetery in northeastern 
Illinois. 

Answer: The following actions are occurring or planned regarding the effort to build a new 
national cemetery in northeastern Illinois: 

• A contract is being negotiated with the environmental impact statement (EIS) consultant 
who prepared the original Chicago EIS for preparation of the supplemental EIS (SEIS). 

• VA real property staff are screening the Chicago region to determine if any other viable 
properties (300 acres or more) are available. So far, no suitable sites which are affordable 
have been identified. 



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Veteran population and demographics liave been updated for the Grant Park and Cissna 

Park sites for their further assessment within the SEIS 

A VA site board is being formulated to oversee the SEIS preparation. 

Public Law 100-180 which provides authority for the Secretary of the Army to transfer 

land at the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant to VA has been reviewed by the Office of 

General Counsel. General Counsel will provide further advice, as needed, in interpreting 

any applicable transfer requirements 

It could take up to ten months to complete the SEIS. However, all efforts are being 

directed to expedite this process wherever possible. 

Following the SEIS, a new Record of Decision will be rendered by the Secretary of 

Veterans Affairs. 

In FY91, $1,506,000 was appropriated for master planning and land acquisition for the 

Chicago area national cemetery. 

Funding for continued construction planning will be requested in future budget requests, 

subject to the availability of resources and system-wide priorities. 

A new national cemetery could be constructed and open as early as 1997, if all events 

listed above take place on schedule 



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