November 12, 2021

Chairman Takano Responds to Troubling Department of Defense Inspector General Report on Suicide Prevention

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684) 

Washington, D.C. - Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) released the following statement in response to the new report from the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Inspector General entitled, “Evaluation of the Department of Defense’s Implementation of Suicide Prevention Resources for Transitioning Uniformed Service Members.”

“I am disappointed to learn that pursuant to an Executive Order issued in 2018, DoD did not screen transitioning servicemembers for suicide risks as it is required to—this is how veterans fall through the cracks,” said Chairman Takano. “It’s VA’s job to care for veterans once they leave service, but given this report, I’m concerned that DoD is not setting VA up for success, especially when it comes to mental health care. I’m encouraged that DoD under the current administration agrees with the IG recommendations, but there is more work to be done, and I stand ready to help. Through my EVEST Act, we can address these issues head on by automatically enrolling all eligible veterans into VA healthcare services—the "warm handoff" that the IG identified as sadly lacking. DoD could also begin providing a mandatory mental health component of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) to further ease this transition, and I have legislation ready to mandate that. By working together, DoD, VA, and Congress can help meet many of the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities to combat veteran suicide and ease the stressful transition period.” 

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at