Lawmaker Sees Larger Role for VA

Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) thinks Veterans Affairs should have more than a “minimal role” in the National Response Plan. Buyer, who is chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, says he plans to “examine more thoroughly the VA’s fourth mission”—supporting DOD as a primary back up during war or national emergency—to ensure it is fully engaged. He was not criticizing the VA, rather the NRP for its failure to include VA capabilities. Buyer said of the VA response to Hurricane Katrina, “The men and women of the VA stood out. … They knew their mission and implemented it successfully.”