A congressional committee and the Department of Veterans Affairs have opened an investigation into a veteran found dead in his vehicle parked at the VA medical center in Washington, D.C.
The veteran’s sister found her brother inside his vehicle at the Washington, D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center about 8:30 p.m. May 16. He was reported missing May 15 when he didn’t return from an appointment at the facility, The Associated Press reported.
The veteran was “slumped over and unconscious,” according to a report by the Metropolitan Police Department. The VA chief of police and a VA investigator arrived at the scene and a medic pronounced the veteran dead before police arrived at the hospital, according to the report. A medical examiner is determining the cause of death. The name of the veteran has not been released yet.
The hospital director, retired Army Col. Lawrence Connell, told NBC Washington that he was investigating why the veteran wasn’t discovered sooner after he was reported missing.
VA officials in Washington would not comment Friday about the circumstances of the veteran's death.
However, VA spokesman Mark Ballesteros did offer a statement of sympathy on behalf of the department.
"We are deeply saddened by the death of this veteran, and our condolences go out to his family," he said in a prepared statement.
The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is conducting its own investigation, said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., chairman of the committee.
“The [committee] is conducting an independent, thorough and ongoing investigation to look at a number of issues at the DC VA Medical Center, including this death, and will continue to demand answers,” Roe said.
The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., said the hospital “did not do enough to locate this veteran and inform his family.”
The hospital has been under investigation already by the VA inspector general since March. In an unprecedented move, Inspector General Michael Missal released an interim report in April revealing supply shortages and dirty conditions that posed a risk to patient safety, as well as cultural problems within the facility.
Missal plans to release a full report on the investigation in the next several months.
In response to Missal’s findings, VA Secretary David Shulkin removed the former medical director from his position and sent teams to establish a new inventory system at the hospital. Connell, the new medical director, said weeks ago that many of the problems had been fixed.
Walz asked that Missal incorporate the veteran’s death into the ongoing investigation.
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.
Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment "Dark Horse," 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are escorted by observer controllers from the U.S. Army Operational Test Command after completing field testing of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Sept. 24, 2018. (U.S. Army/Maj. Carson Petry)
The Army has awarded a $575 million contract to BAE Systems for the initial production of its replacement for the M113 armored personnel carriers the service has been rocking downrange since the Vietnam War.
President Donald Trump has formally outlined how his administration plans to stand up the Space Force as the sixth U.S. military service – if Congress approves.
On Tuesday, Trump signed a directive that calls for the Defense Department to submit a proposal to Congress that would make Space Force fall under Department of the Air Force, a senior administration official said.