Skip to Content

Press Releases

Ranking Member Bost Joins Bipartisan Letter Urging Defense Department to Assist National Archives with Addressing Backlog of Veterans’ Records

f t # e
Washington, May 20, 2021 | Samantha Gonzalez | comments
Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Mike Bost and Chairman Mark Takano; Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Ranking Member Rep. James Comer; Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Gerry Connolly and Ranking Member Rep. Jody Hice; and National Security Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Stephen F. Lynch and Ranking Member Rep. Glenn Grothman 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,” the Members wrote.

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.

Ranking Member Bost has repeatedly urged NARA to prioritize the NPRC resuming safe and regular operations to get our veterans and their families the records they need. In April, Ranking Member Bost, and 186 lawmakers sent a letter to President Biden and the Director of NARA calling for quick action to address the backlog of half a million veteran claims, especially given the emergency funding for resources given to the NPRC. In early May, Ranking Member Bost and a group of Republican lawmakers sent another letter on this issue to the Archivist of the United States requesting a briefing on how the NPRC is planning to work through the backlog and fulfill veterans’ requests.

Full text of the letter the Members sent today to DoD can be found here and below.

The Honorable Lloyd J. Austin III
Secretary
Department of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Secretary Austin:

We are writing to ask that you prioritize a request from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for assistance in addressing the backlog of requests at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC).

The NPRC maintains and services military personnel and medical records on behalf of the Department of Defense (DOD). Veterans require access to these records to receive certain service-related benefits, including medical treatment, unemployment assistance, home loans, and emergency services for unhoused veterans.

According to NARA, many of the records housed at the NPRC exist only in paper form and cannot be accessed remotely. Since NARA implemented workplace restrictions last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the NPRC has been unable to process thousands of requests for veterans records. As of May 10, 2021, NARA reported that the backlog now stands at over 500,000 delayed requests. In addition to these unprocessed records requests, the NPRC also has a backlog of 400,000 records that need to be refiled.

The NPRC has been unable to process non-emergency requests for months. While the NPRC is taking a number of steps to rectify the service impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic, including by working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to digitize records and enhancing its remote work capabilities, NPRC still expects it will take nearly two years to resolve the backlog.

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.

We respectfully ask DOD to prioritize and fulfill NARA’s request. Veterans and their families depend on timely access to their 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.

Sincerely,

Mike Bost
Ranking Member
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Mark Takano
Chairman
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Carolyn B. Maloney
Chairwoman
Committee on Oversight & Reform

James Comer
Ranking Member
Committee on Oversight & Reform

Stephen F. Lynch
Chairman
Subcommittee on National Security

Glenn Grothman
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on National Security

Gerald E. Connolly
Chairman
Subcommittee on Government Operations
Committee on Oversight & Reform

Jody Hice
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
Committee on Oversight & Reform

Elaine G. Luria
Chairwoman
Subcommittee on Disability Assistance & Memorial Affairs
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Mike Levin
Chairman
Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
f t # e

United States Military



  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Marines
  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. Air Force
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • National Guard
Back to top