House Bill Plans to Significantly Limit Public Access to Military Records

(The Hill) – House Republicans want to prevent the Pentagon from releasing publicly the service record summaries of US military personnel.

Lawmakers took advantage of the House Appropriations Committee’s annual defense spending bill to include a provision prohibiting the use of funds to release personal information about current and former military personnel without their consent.

If passed, the bill would significantly prevent the media and some employers from proving an individual’s military service. The issue has also come up in past election cycles when candidates were found to have falsified their military credentials.

NBC News is report first Terms.

Now, the Pentagon normally publishes an individual’s full name and hometown, rank, past and present assignments, awards and decorations earned, whether they attended professional military school, and current assignments. Status, if and when retired, official photo.

Pentagon regulations stipulate that such information “may generally be disclosed without demonstrably unreasonable violation of an individual’s privacy.”

But lawmakers want to block disclosure to anyone other than federal agencies, employees, and state and local law enforcement.

Under the proposed bill, the military would not disclose information about current or former military personnel to the public, journalists, and some employers without their consent, or if the military or former military personnel died, without their consent. It is illegal to publish to their next of kin.

If a prohibited person wishes to know the combat history of any person, he or she must file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the military service department where that person currently or previously served. However, the process has stalled, and it is well known that it takes months, even years, to meet the demands.

The provision may not be included in the final spending bill that the House and Senate agree to before President Biden is asked to sign it.

But if this language becomes law, the public will be able to tell whether someone has won medals or awards, where they have served, what they have done in the military service, what rank they have been promoted to, or even whether they have been in the military. The ability to confirm is likely to be severely hampered. any point.

The issue came to a head last year after reports surfaced that Air Force veteran and pro-Trump Republican JR Majwski lied about serving in Afghanistan, even though there were no military records reflecting his service there. It surfaced when he lost his seat in the Ohio legislature.

And last year, Democratic Clyde Shavers, a U.S. Naval Academy alumnus and Washington congressional candidate, was accused by his biological father of exaggerating his military career, claiming he was a nuclear submarine officer despite only serving on a submarine. rice field. In the end, Shavers won the race.

But Republicans may instead be focusing on the recent mistake of the Pentagon in releasing the personal information of two veteran Republican politicians.

During the 2022 midterm elections, the Air Force mistakenly released the personal records of retired Brigadier General Don Bacon (R-Nebraska) and former officer Zach Nunn (R-Iowa) without their consent. . NBC reported that someone with ties to the Democrats had requested the records of Mr. Bacon and Mr. Nunn. House Bill Plans to Significantly Limit Public Access to Military Records

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