Arlington leadership moving forward in fixing problems at Arlington National Cemetery
April 14, 2011
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ARLINGTON, Va., April 14, 201 -- The Army Cemeteries Program and Arlington National Cemetery leadership testified today before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, or HASC O&I, regarding the progress made to address past issues and establish accountability at Arlington National Cemetery.
Kathryn A. Condon, executive director, Army National Cemeteries Program, and Patrick K. Hallinan, cemetery superintendent, both testified before the HASC O&I about the steps they have taken since taking over the management of Arlington National Cemetery, June 10, 2010.
"I am here today to personally tell you that Arlington National Cemetery, with the full support of the Army, is moving forward to fix the problems found by the Army Inspector General and to comply with the legislative requirements that will continue to correct the mistakes of the past, while ensuring a future of strong oversight, management, and accountability," Condon said.
In less than a year, the new leadership has taken several steps to address past issues, including: rebuilding the workforce, overhauling the automated interment scheduling system, establishing consolidated call center, implementing a financial management system and contracting process, and employing new chain-of-custody procedures.
"We have implemented standard-industry procedures with training and equipment that equal the best national cemeteries. I'm out daily among the workforce, providing direction and guidance while holding supervisors, team leaders and the workforce accountable for operations," Hallinan said.
During the leadership transition the cemetery has performed over to 5,700 interments and inurnments. This is the only cemetery in the nation that performs gravesite burials and renders full military honors. In addition, Arlington National Cemetery hosts over 3,000 special ceremonies and wreath ceremonies per year.
Visiting dignitaries often come to Arlington to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns before meeting with the President or cabinet officials. Arlington is also the host to more than 4 million visitors a year, who come to pay their respects and explore its rich history.
"Arlington National Cemetery is truly about those who have served. It provides a means for families, friends and the country to honor fallen veterans," Condon said.