Two Years After Investigation, Dramatic Progress at Arlington
Army Inspector General report details significant improvements made to management and operation following Senators investigation
September 20, 2012
WASHINGTON - The Army's management of Arlington National Cemetery has undergone a remarkable turnaround and continues to improve, according to a detailed new Army Inspector General report required under legislation passed by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.
"Arlington National Cemetery is a national treasure, and this report illustrates that it's finally being run like one," said McCaskill, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "The turnaround at Arlington is an example of what comes from a sustained effort at accountability and oversight. And the heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, and their families, deserve no less."
The report details continued improvements at Arlington, which include a digitalization of all cemetery records as well as the establishment of a strict chain of custody procedures for the handling of remains. "Improvements in the Program's performance, accountability, management and staff morale have been sustained and built upon over the past year," the report finds.
However, a remaining area of concern is contracting procedures for the Army Corps of Engineers and the Army Contracting Command-issues that McCaskill will be further addressing in the near future.
McCaskill, who has been nationally acknowledged for her work reforming the management and operations at Arlington National Cemetery, responded to reports of widespread mismanagement in 2010 by launching an investigation and holding a hearing in her Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight. McCaskill introduced and rallied support for a bill that was signed into law, dramatically increasing oversight and accountability at Arlington.
Earlier this year McCaskill held a second Senate hearing, sharply questioning officials concerning their efforts to institute the improvements driven by her legislation.
Reforms and new procedures implemented at the cemetery as a result of McCaskill's efforts include:
- A complete manual inventory, recording, and photographing of more than 259,000 interment and inurnment sites at the cemetery
- A new computerized, auditable system for bringing together all relevant information on each site (burial records, death certificates, site photograph)
- A digital mapping system of each site (with up to three-inch accuracy) and new online scheduling for families of veterans to request interments and determine the design of gravesite markers before the day of burial.
Read more about McCaskill's work for veterans by clicking HERE.
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