Lankford, Cornyn Introduce Bill to Bolster Local, Federal Coordination for Missing Soldiers
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today joined Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to introduce the Servicemember Safety and Security Act, a bipartisan bill which would require military installations to review and improve policies and procedures for reporting missing servicemembers and to partner with local and federal law enforcement to improve information sharing.
“Each day our men and women in uniform make sacrifices to serve our nation,” said Lankford. “Department policies and procedures should serve them just as well. Sadly, tragedies we’ve seen over the past two years have shown us there is room to improve on how we respond to missing servicemembers. Today, I join Senator Cornyn to improve coordination between local and federal law enforcement to prevent similar cases in the future.”
“As a parent and the son of a veteran, I feel a sense of duty to protect the dedicated servicemembers who sacrifice so much to protect us,” said Cornyn. “The recent deaths of soldiers at Fort Hood have shaken us all, and my hope is that this bill will help us prevent similar tragedies in the future.”
The Servicemember Safety and Security Act was introduced following the deaths of PVT Gregory Wedel-Morales, SGT Elder Fernandes, SPC Vanessa Guillén, and the other US soldiers stationed at Fort Hood.
Specifically, the Servicemember Safety and Security Act requires the Secretary of Defense to conduct a comprehensive review of the Department’s policies and procedures for reporting members of the Armed Forces absent without leave or missing. Each military installation would then be required to review its policies and procedures for reporting missing or AWOL servicemembers, and to update policies and procedures to improve force protection, security for on-base residents, and coordination with local and federal law enforcement. Installation commanders would be required to create or update protocols for information sharing with local and federal law enforcement agencies in their area of operation. Finally, installation commanders would report these protocols back to each service installation command.