President Clinton established the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses on May 26, 1995, to ensure an independent, open and comprehensive examination of health concerns related to Gulf War service. Working with the First Lady's Office, Cabinet Affairs, and the National Security Council, OSTP played the central role in establishing this Committee. The Committee issued its Final Report on December 31, 1996, documenting its review of the government's outreach, medical care, research, efforts to protect against and to assess exposure to chemical and biological weapons, and coordination activities pertinent to Gulf War veterans' illnesses. The Committee was asked by the President to continue its oversight of government efforts and they issued another report in October 1997. During the course of the Committee's deliberations, government efforts to address and to resolve veterans' concerns continued, consistent with respective agencies' missions to provide for the health and welfare of active, reserve, and retired service personnel and their dependents.
This extensive review and analysis of Gulf War veterans' illnesses and risk factors have identified a number of opportunities for government action aimed at minimizing or preventing future post-conflict health concerns. Ameliorating, avoiding or, ideally, preventing such health effects can be approached through a variety of means. These include improving service personnel's understanding of health risk information; enhancing government collection of health and exposure data; coordinating agency research programs; and improving the delivery of health care services to veterans and their families, as could be accomplished by establishing effective linkages between health information systems.
In its December 1996 report, the Advisory Committee recommended that the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) develop an interagency plan to address health preparedness for and readjustment of veterans and families after future conflicts and peacekeeping missions.
In accordance with the Advisory Committee's recommendation, the NSTC develop this plan and released it on November 11, 1998. Acting on its primary recommendation, the President ordered the formation of the Military and Veterans Health Coordinating Board to improve health protection for our armed forces, veterans and families. The Military and Veterans Health Coordinating Board will coordinate the functions of DoD, VA, and HHS in matters concerning: research, deployment health, health care, and risk communication. This Board will oversee the implementation of the NSTC interagency plan.
A National Obligation: Planning for Health
Preparedness for and Readjustment of the Military, Veterans, and their
Families after Future Deployments, November 1998. This report is
responsive to PRD/NSTC-5. It lays out a comprehensive interagency
plan for improving the health of our military, veterans and their families.