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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs


New VA Advisory Panel to Improve Services for Returning Combat Veterans

May 8, 2007, 08:00:00 AM

Printable Version

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson today announced the formation of a formal, 17-person committee that will advise him on ways to improve VA programs serving veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and their families.

"This panel will report directly to me,” Nicholson said. “I am asking for their ideas and input on how VA can consistently ensure world-class service to America's newest generation of heroes, particularly severely disabled veterans and their families."

The Secretary’s announcement about the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) panel, called the Advisory Committee on OIF/OEF Veterans and Families, comes on the heels of his presentation April 24 of recommendations from a presidential task force to improve services to the nation’s newest generation of combat veterans.

"A number of panels already have been asking tough questions about our programs for veterans transitioning to civilian life,” Nicholson added. “This committee, to be chaired by retired Lt. Gen. David Barno, consists of OIF and OEF wounded veterans, family members, survivors, leaders of the major veterans organizations and long-time veterans advocates.”

“This group of people have experienced war and our system of care and can advise me from first-hand experience on how we are doing and what we need to do better,” Nicholson added.

The new OIF/OEF advisory committee will hold a three-day inaugural meeting, beginning May 14 in Alexandria, Va.  The committee is scheduled to discuss its general work program, future meeting dates, and plans for site visits to VA facilities around the country.  

The schedule includes briefings by senior officials of VA's key programs, comments by members of the public who register in advance with the committee, discussions about "seamless transition" goals and procedures affecting combat veterans moving from the military to civilian life.

Members of the VA Advisory Committee on OIF/OEF Veterans and Families are: Lt. Gen. Barno of Washington, D.C.; Dawn Halfaker of Washington, D.C.; Lonnie Moore of San Diego; Jack L. Tilley of Riverview, Fla.; Gary Wilson of Carlsbad, Calif.; Liza Biggers of New York City; Pam Estes of Dayton, Md.; Caroline Maney of Shalimar, Fla.; Kimberly Hazelgrove of Lorton, Va.; Michael Ayoub of Ashburn, Va.; Rocky McPherson of Tallahassee, Fla.; John Sommer of Annandale, Va.; Dennis Donovan of Atlanta; Frances Hackett of South Plainfield, N.J.; Paul F. Livengood of Manassas, Va.; Tim McClain of Alexandria, Va.; and Chris Yoder of Baltimore.

People seeking more information about the committee or who wish to register to make a statement of up to five minutes should contact VA’s Tiffany Glover by e-mail at

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