Cohen asks Rudman to review all of
DoD's work on Gulf War illnesses

WASHINGTON, May 1, 1997 (GulfLINK) - Defense Secretary William J. Cohen has asked Warren Rudman, a retired Republican senator from New Hampshire, to review the work the Pentagon is doing on Gulf War illnesses.

Rudman agreed to take on the responsibility in keeping with President Clinton's public commitment to Gulf War veterans to "leave no stone unturned" to learn the causes for the ailments afflicting many Gulf War veterans.

In a letter to Rudman, Cohen asked him to make "whatever recommendations you believe appropriate," based on the findings of DoD investigations. Rudman has been asked to provide an independent evaluation of the thoroughness of DoD efforts, to pay attention to the cooperation and integration between DoD and the Intelligence Community, and to suggest ways to improve the provision, handling and use of intelligence information during battle.

Commenting on Senator Rudman's appointment, the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses Bernard D. Rostker said, "When I was asked about how I would feel about somebody who had Rudman's credentials, I thought that was just terrific. I have been a great fan of the Senator's from afar, and it was a real privilege to meet him."

Senator Rudman is a decorated combat veteran of the Korean War and he previously served on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He is best known for his co-authorship of the Graham-Rudman-Hollings Act, which is designed to reduce deficit spending by the federal government. He currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Cohen said a "vigorous program" under Bernard Rostker, the Pentagon's Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, "is producing tangible results." The defense secretary pointed also to 80 medical research projects currently underway. And he cited a number of investigations being pursued by different agencies without the Defense Department.

"Despite these efforts," Cohen wrote Rudman, "the causes of illnesses that many veterans suffer remain a mystery. . . . Our efforts in this regard must be as thorough and complete as possible, and I believe an outside review of our findings will help accomplish that objective. I am pleased you have agreed to advise us."