Friday, December 23, 2011

Gravesite Study of Arlington National Cemetery

Army Submits Gravesite Study of Arlington National Cemetery
December 22, 2011 - Secretary of the Army John McHugh released today to Congress the results of a year-long effort to ensure accountability of gravesites and records at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC). McHugh submitted the report in accordance with Public Law 111-339, which directed the Army to provide an accounting of gravesites at ANC, and put in place a plan of action for any discrepancies which may be found.

“The management team I put in place has now conducted the most comprehensive review and meticulous accounting of gravesites in Arlington National Cemetery’s 147 year history,” McHugh said. “They have examined every available record, physically counted every gravesite on the cemetery’s grounds, and created a digital record of every headstone and niche cover.”

McHugh said this report is the latest in a series that shows the Army’s commitment to and success in improving management and oversight at ANC. The Army’s inspector general recently reported that “significant progress has been made in all aspects of the cemetery’s performance, accountability and modernization.” The Government Accountability Office -- also directed to submit reports in accordance with Public Law 111-339 -- similarly noted that the Army “has taken positive steps to address management deficiencies at Arlington and has implemented improvements across a range of areas.”

The cemetery’s Gravesite Accountability Task Force reconciled existing records and conducted a physical identification of gravesites -- counting every marker in the cemetery and photographing each headstone and niche cover. They have completed nearly 200,000 cases, and validated those gravesites without any burial discrepancies in evidence.

Comprised of Army soldiers and civilians, the task force was charged with physically identifying every gravesite and niche cover, cross-referencing each with all available records, identifying discrepancies, applying appropriate corrective actions and developing standardized procedures that can be instituted into the daily operations of the cemetery.

“With the critical support of Congress and the American people, the task force’s significant work has resulted in a far more detailed and thorough understanding of Arlington’s records and living history than at any time since its inception during the Civil War in 1864,” said Kathryn A. Condon, executive director of the Army National Cemeteries Program. “This comprehensive effort will create a set of proven procedures that will ensure the accountability of all current and future gravesites. While remarkable progress has been made this far, additional work is required.” read more>>>

Arlington Gravesite Accountability Study Findings

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