Today, Oversight and Reform Committee Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III asking him to prioritize a National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) request for assistance with addressing the backlog of veterans’ records requests at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC).
“Veterans and their families depend on timely access to personnel records in order to receive life-saving medical care, emergency housing assistance, proper military burials, and other vital benefits earned through service to our country. We urge DOD to support the NPRC’s work and to ensure that we uphold our solemn pledge to care for our nation’s veterans.”
According to NARA, many of the records housed at the NPRC exist only in paper form and cannot be accessed remotely.  While NARA has been able to address emergency requests, since workplace restrictions were implemented last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the NPRC has been unable to process thousands of requests for veterans records. 

On May 10, 2021, NARA Chief Operating Officer William J. Bosanko wrote a letter to DOD requesting assistance for pandemic recovery operations at the NPRC. Specifically, NARA is requesting support to conduct off-site sorting and batching of military personnel folders for refiling, on-site searching and retrieval of veterans’ records, and assistance with digitizing separation documents that veterans depend on to demonstrate their eligibility for federal benefits.

On May 6, 2021, Republican leaders—Ranking Member Comer, Ranking Member Bost, and several other Republicans—wrote National Archivist David S. Ferriero for a briefing on the backlog. The Republicans voiced concerns over the substantive delays veterans and their families have experienced in getting records required for military funerals, medical benefits, small business loans, and more.


Click here to read the letter to DOD.