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  • A need to study link between service injuries, behavior
    Posted in Op-Eds on July 22, 2013 | Preview rr

    Recently, as the House Armed Services Committee was writing the initial draft of the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act - the annual defense bill - I came across a highly informative piece of investigative journalism in The Gazette entitled "Other Than Honorable" which effectively captured what is unfortunately an all too familiar occurrence in the military, The report describes how the number of soldiers discharged from the Army for misconduct has risen to its highest rate in r... Read more

  • Claims backlog for veterans inexcusable
    Posted in Op-Eds on July 3, 2013 | Preview rr

    The Department of Veterans Affairs needs a watchdog. This is the single most important thing I have learned since joining the House Veterans Affairs Committee in January. The committee must stay vigilant because, if not, the VA will not perform up to the level the Congress expects and veterans deserve. As the Chairman of the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee, I have been shocked at the level of bureaucratic incompetence the VA has shown in their ability to reduce the disability claims bac... Read more

  • The Growing Problem of Sexual Assault in the Military
    Posted in Op-Eds on June 13, 2013 | Preview rr
    Tags: National Security

    The United States military is the most capable and most professional fighting force the world has ever seen. At its core are our men and women in uniform, whose selfless service and sacrifice for the cause of freedom is the main reason Americans have held the military in such high regard. Time and again, they rise to the occasion to defeat and deter America’s enemies. Yet while this fine institution is adept at meeting external threats, I am troubled by its inability to defeat and deter a grave ... Read more

  • Enlistment Opportunity Act serves military needs
    Posted in Op-Eds on May 22, 2013 | Preview rr

    I come from a Colorado family with a strong tradition of military service. My late father, a retired Army master sergeant, taught me that there is no higher demonstration of American citizenship than serving in the military. He grew up in poverty in Colorado during the Great Depression and like so many young people of that era he was forced to quit school. After performing many odd jobs, he joined the Navy and served as a gunner on the back of a torpedo bomber in the Pacific. He later became an ... Read more

  • Coffman: Good News from Washington
    Posted in Op-Eds on May 6, 2013 | Preview rr

    There is finally a bipartisan consensus in Washington that we need to end at least some of the political theater associated with the ongoing government spending negotiations. Today I get to report something we don’t hear enough of: good news from Washington. There is finally a bipartisan consensus in Washington that we need to end at least some of the political theater associated with the ongoing government spending negotiations. It is apparent to many — on both sides of the political aisle, in ... Read more

  • Afghanistan - The Wrong War
    Posted in Op-Eds on April 8, 2013 | Preview rr

    In 2007, when then-Sen. Barack Obama began his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, his signature issue was his opposition to the war in Iraq. This well positioned him against his chief rival, Senator Hillary Clinton, who in 2002 had voted in favor of going to war. Obama wasn’t elected to the U.S. Senate until 2004 so he had the good political fortune of not having cast a vote for or against the Iraq War. During the 2008 presidential primary, Obama campaigned heavily against the... Read more

  • Sequestration and our debt crisis
    Posted in Op-Eds on March 27, 2013 | Preview rr

    When Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing what he thought was the greatest threat to the national security of the United States, he didn’t say that it was Iran, North Korea or even al Qaeda. The Admiral, without hesitation, said that the greatest threat to our country is our debt. Since 2009, our deficits have been over $1 trillion each year and our debt has climbed from $10.6 trillion to $16.6. In response to ... Read more

  • There are smarter ways to cut defense spending
    Posted in Op-Eds on February 19, 2013 | Preview rr

    Significant threats to our national security loom on the horizon, including the nuclear menace from North Korea and the threats posed by global terrorism. But one particular threat is of our own making. Our government has failed to reach an agreement on managing the national debt, and as a result America's military faces more than $500 billion in new defense spending reductions over the next 10 years. The Pentagon faces the first round of cuts next month: "sequestration," an across-the-board cut... Read more

  • Military service as a path to citizenship
    Posted in Op-Eds on February 7, 2013 | Preview rr

    Recently, I introduced the H.R. 435, Military Enlistment Opportunity Act. This legislation seeks to expand military enlistment opportunities and create a system that mutually benefits the armed services and individuals with temporary immigration status. Under my bill, individuals who have resided legally in the United States continuously for at least two years as well as the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would be permitted to sign up for military service alongside American citizens a... Read more

  • Corruption in Afghanistan
    Posted in Op-Eds on December 7, 2012 | Preview rr

    Last year I began pushing for a congressional investigation into allegations of corruption and mismanagement at a U.S. sponsored Afghan National Army hospital, known as the Dawood National Military Hospital, in Kabul.

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