Submitted by admin on Thu, 06/14/2012 - 19:51
Sorry, you need to install flash to see this content.
SENATOR HARKIN: I have two kind of disparate issues I want to cover with you. One, last November we had a short conversation about what I was hoping to be perhaps the next step in breaking down the discrimination against people with disabilities in our country. And that was allowing people with disabilities to serve in our Armed Forces. We had a unique case of a young man who had gone through ROTC in California, had done extremely well on all of his tests, all of his scores and stuff, but was denied entry into the military because he was Deaf. And I explored with you at that time perhaps having a pilot program, bringing people in to the military who could, who could add to the defense of this country. I just think this is one place where, again, we’ve got to break down some of these barriers. There’s a lot of people with disabilities that want to serve their country, can serve in the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines. They may not be able to do exactly everything that people can do, but they can do – within their abilities, they can provide a lot of support. And I just ask you please, once again, to really take a look at this and set up a pilot program.
SECRETARY PANETTA: I appreciate your leadership on this issue and you’ve been – you’ve led on this issue for a long time during your career here on the Hill, and I really, I respect it, but more importantly I agree with you. And for that reason, I think we can try to set up a pilot program. I mean look, right now, when we have wounded warriors – and let me tell you, wounded warriors come out of there with new legs, new arms, and sometimes th