Rep. Bacon Introduces the SWORDD Act
Bill will call attention to the prevalence of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries among the military and veteran populations, and the significant impact these untreated injuries have on servicemembers, family members, and communities at large.
Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE-02) has introduced the bipartisan Speed Warrior Outcomes, Research, Detection and Diagnosis (SWORDD) Act of 2018, one of his 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) priorities. Congressman Trent Kelly (R-MS-01), Congressman Robert Brady (D-PA-01), Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH-01), and Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV-03) are original cosponsors.
There has been an increase in the numbers of veterans who have experienced traumatic brain injuries (TBI) due to the conflicts over the last 16 years, compared to 12% of Vietnam related combat casualties. It is estimated by the Department of Defense and Veteran’s Brain Injury Center that 22% of all combat casualties from these conflicts are brain injuries. The number of veterans with Post Traumatic Syndrome (PTS) varies by service era. Approximately 11 to 20% of veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have PTS in a given year, and approximately 12% of Gulf War veterans experience it in a given year. Numbers for Vietnam Veterans who suffer from PTS vary. The most recent study was done in the late 1980’s and showed that 15% veterans were diagnosed with PTS. However, it is believed that the number is closer to 30%.
H.R. 5528 will require the Secretary of Defense to prepare an action plan to identify clear goals to accelerate cooperative research, development, and fielding of effective therapies for PTS and TBI patients, in collaboration with other government agencies, major universities, and private industry. This legislation notes that treatments and therapies for PTS and TBI still are not reaching the military and veteran populations fast enough, despite significant effort and investment over the past decade.
“This legislation is about accountability for results. Our service members and veterans deserve the same urgency for rapid delivery of innovative diagnosis and treatment for PTS and TBI that we give to new weapons and other breakthrough military technologies,” said Rep. Bacon.