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Opening Statement of Honorable Jeff Denham, Republican Member, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Chairman Miller, Chairman McKeon, thank you for the opportunity to address this important hearing.  America is blessed with the strongest, most capable and professional military in the world.  Our servicemen and women execute challenging missions in the most difficult of circumstances and when they leave the service do so with skills that our economy needs to compete.  Unfortunately many of our veterans discover that even though they have the training to perform a wide variety of occupations, the private sector and event other departments of the federal government may not recognize that training.  This can delay a veteran’s transition by requiring them to undergo needless certification of skills and prevents them from quickly integrating into the workforce.  

I am pleased to see that the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs are taking this issue seriously, with 200,000 servicemen and women separating from the military each year, we must act swiftly.

In that light I am happy to report that yesterday President Obama signed my legislation, the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act into law.  This bill directs federal departments and agencies to treat relevant military training as sufficient to satisfy training or certification requirements for Federal licenses when they can find substantial equivalence.  Indeed there is no reason that federal agencies and departments cannot work with the Department of Defense to remove unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles to veteran employment.  

I look forward to working with the Department of Defense on the implementation of this legislation as well as on other initiatives to streamline the licensing and credentialing process.  I am particularly excited about efforts to bring private credentialing agencies to Training and Doctrine Command schools in order to give them a concrete understanding of the value of military training.  This will allow credentialing agencies to better perform the necessary gap analysis between the training offered and the requirements for the credentials they issue.

As a former Crew Chief in the Air Force who was told I needed to go to school for three years in order to perform the same job in the private sector, these reforms can’t come soon enough. Thank you again for the opportunity to address this hearing.