To Celebrate Legislation Supporting a Department of Defense Demonstration Program
For the Accession to Active Duty of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals

S. 1864 Introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (IA)
H.R. 5296 Introduced by Congressman Mark Takano (CA)

Friday September 12, 2014

At Lafayette Park and the US Capitol

With thanks to Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman Mark Takano, we would like to announce the introduction of legislation that would provide for a demonstration program for deaf and hard of hearing Americans to enter active duty and training to be officers in the United States Air Force.

These proposed pieces of legislation will provide an opportunity for deaf and hard of hearing Americans to serve in the military following three of our government's core policies for people with disabilities: to grow employment, cultural diversity, and technology.

The demonstration program will allow the Department of Defense to explore and discover potential benefits that may be attributed to having deaf and hard of hearing active personnel serving within the ranks.

Furthermore, the demonstration program will help inform the rehabilitation processes for current soldiers, sailors, and airmen who have had their hearing damaged during active duty, and thereby support improved retention, replacement, and attrition of today’s active and reserve component service members. Hearing loss is the number one disability in the military today and its incidence increases 13-18% every year- significantly contributing to demand for services to be provided by the Veterans Administration.

Please attend the rallies and lend your full support and to make the passage of this legislation a top Congressional priority for Americans with disabilities, for our Country, and for our past, present, and future military personnel!