WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), Committee on House Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Mike Bost (R-Ill.), and a group of Republican lawmakers today wrote Archivist of the United States David Ferriero regarding the massive delays veterans and their families are encountering while requesting their records from the National Personnel Records Center (NRPC).

The NRPC stores the personnel, health, and medical records of military personnel—active, discharged, and deceased from all branches. As of March 2021, there was a backlog of almost half a million records requests. These records are often necessary for proceeding with a military burial, obtaining VA benefits, and more.

“Delayed release of military records is absolutely unacceptable. The National Personnel Records Center failed to adapt to the pandemic, and it resulted in almost half a million backlogged requests for records. Holding these records hostage inevitably delays military funerals, benefits payments, access to veteran shelters, decisions on VA claims, and more. Our military men and women and their families deserve far better than these delays. NRPC must clean up its act, address the backlog immediately, and give these families and Congress an explanation and timeline for fixing it,” said Ranking Member Comer.

“Veterans need answers. The NPRC serves a vital function. Congress has provided the resources the NPRC needs to safely resume normal operations. It is unacceptable that we continue to receive mixed messages about when veterans will have timely access to their records. I hope Archivist Ferriero will fix this as soon as possible,” said Ranking Member Bost.

The letter is available here.