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Arlington National Cemetery Turns Corner Under New Leadership

Oct 6, 2011 Issues: Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs received an update on the state of Arlington National Cemetery. After years of poor management and neglect, it was revealed in 2010 that problems at the nation’s preeminent cemetery were rampant and included inaccurate burial records, unmarked graves, and a lack of accountability among senior management.

In August, the Army IG released a new report noting that many of the problems that existed previously at Arlington had been resolved.

Rep. Jon Runyan, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, commended the new leadership of Arlington, stating, “due to your diligence, hard work, and excellent management, the problems which plagued Arlington National Cemetery just one year ago have been addressed and the majority have been eliminated.”

“We have made tremendous progress at Arlington National Cemetery,” stated Ms. Kathryn Condon, Executive Director of Arlington. “Although much has been accomplished, we have much work to do. Yet, it is important that we recognize the diligent efforts put forth by the work force each day. When we arrived at the cemetery 15 month ago, we found a work force that was demoralized and lacked direction.  Today that is no longer true.”

Among the IG report’s key recommendations for further improvement are the creation of a multi-service policy, long-term command and oversight plan, and how to better evaluate interment wait times.

“Moving forward, I hope to learn how this progress will be sustained, and the plans to strengthen the improvements already made,” Runyan said. “The committee is pleased that the Army and Arlington have taken these issues so seriously in order to restore confidence in our most hallowed ground. We will continue our oversight to ensure it remains so.”