Bill Supported by Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion Would Provide States Assistance in Setting Up Systems to Find Veterans, Similar to AMBER Alert or Silver Alert Systems
WASHINGTON – Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would help states implement “Green Alert” systems to locate veterans when they go missing so that they can receive appropriate care, similar to the AMBER Alert system for children or Silver Alert system for older Americans.
The Green Alert Act of 2019 would establish a federal commission to develop best practices and provide technical assistance to states to implement Green Alert systems that would be used to alert law enforcement and the public in the event of a veteran’s disappearance. The federal government also played a role in helping states implement AMBER Alert systems, which are in place in all 50 states. Last year, Wisconsin became the first state to establish a Green Alert system.
“Far too many of our brave veterans experience mental and emotional trauma as a result of their service, and as we work to build a country that is ever-worthy of their service, we must ensure that they have the support and resources they need to thrive in civilian life,” Senator Hassan said. “The Green Alert Act would provide federal assistance to help states implement Green Alert systems to locate and assist missing veterans. This is a commonsense step we can take now to ensure that we can be there for our veterans who have so valiantly served to defend our freedoms.”
“As a combat veteran, I understand how important it is for our veterans to have access to the support and care they have earned. Unfortunately, sometimes due to stress and trauma associated with their time in uniform, many of our veterans tragically go missing,” Senator Ernst said. “Our bipartisan and commonsense legislation will help states, like Iowa, implement the Green Alert system, and will ensure our vets get the attention they deserve.”
Senator Hassan was inspired to take up this bill by Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, USA, Ret. of Stratham, N.H., who has been a leader in efforts to help expand Wisconsin’s Green Alert system in states nationwide.
“For a variety of reasons, far too many veterans go missing for long stretches of time before someone finds them,” Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, USA, Ret. said. “I am proud to be working with Senator Hassan to help states set up Green Alert systems so that we can better locate veterans and give them the appropriate care they need when they disappear. I am so thankful for Senator Hassan’s leadership on this issue that impacts so many veterans in New Hampshire and throughout the country. I look forward to keep working together to move this legislation forward and to give our veterans the continued support they need.”
The legislation is also supported by Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
“The Veterans of Foreign Wars has always worked to improve care for those who have bravely served this country, and we applaud Senators Hassan and Ernst for introducing this bipartisan legislation that helps states create a formal process for locating veterans when they disappear and get them the care they need,” Sergeant Major Paul Chevalier, USMC, Ret., Former Commander, New Hampshire Veterans of Foreign Wars said. “This bill will help states like New Hampshire set up Green Alert systems like the successful program established in Wisconsin. We endorse this legislation, and hope to see it become law soon.”
“As the largest wartime veterans service organization in the country, the American Legion is proud to support Senator Hassan’s legislation to help more states create Green Alert systems and locate missing veterans,” Emil Ouellette, Department Commander, American Legion Department of New Hampshire said. “One of the American Legion’s top priorities is to make sure that veterans struggling with mental health issues and the devastating impacts of post-traumatic stress disorder have the support that they need, and we thank Senator Hassan for her continued focus on these issues that too many veterans face.”
The Green Alert Act would establish a commission with members from the Departments of Justice, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, and Health and Human Services, as well as state and local officials and veterans. The Commission would work to develop best practices and provide technical assistance to states to establish a Green Alert system. Additionally, the Commission would provide a report to Congress after two years of enactment on recommendations for any appropriate additional actions to support states as they develop Green Alert systems. See bill text HERE.