Senators introduce 'Green Alert' legislation to establish nationwide notification system for missing veterans

It's a green deal both parties in Congress may be able to support.

A bipartisan bill introduced Thursday in the Senate would establish a national notification system -- the so-called Green Alert -- to help in the recovery of missing veterans.

Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, are the sponsors of the legislation that would establish an alert system similar to the effective AMBER Alert bulletins deployed to find lost children and Silver Alert notifications sent out for elderly people who are reported missing.

Should the Green Alert Act of 2019 pass, it would trigger the formation of a federal commission to identify the best way to develop the system and how to meet the needs of states as they work to notify law enforcement and citizens about at-risk veterans.

Ernst already has some experience with a similar program as Iowa is currently in the process of passing a local Green Alert bill. As a combat veteran, she knows first-hand the emotional and physical trauma experienced by our nation's armed forces.

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“As a combat veteran, I understand how important it is for our veterans to have access to the support and care they have earned," Ernst said in a statement. "Unfortunately, sometimes due to stress and trauma associated with their time in uniform, many of our veterans tragically go missing. Our bipartisan and common-sense legislation will help states, like Iowa, implement the Green Alert system, and will ensure our vets get the attention they deserve.”

Last year, Wisconsin became the first state last year to institute a Green Alert system. The program came about following the death of combat veteran Corey Adams, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. The first eight days he'd been missing, police were unable to help his family because he didn't meet the appropriate criteria. Then, 18 days after he vanished, he was found dead.

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“Far too many of our brave veterans experience mental and emotional trauma as a result of their service, and as we work to build a country that is ever-worthy of their service, we must ensure that they have the support and resources they need to thrive in civilian life,” Hassan said.