DOD Appoints Head of Independent Review Panel on Suicide Prevention and Response > Air Force Sustainment Center > Article view


In March, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III announced the creation of an Independent Suicide Prevention and Response Review Board to address suicides in the U.S. military. Today, the department announced that Dr. Gayle Iwamasa from the Department of Veterans Affairs will lead the committee.















Iwamasa will lead a nine-person team, which includes a sexual assault and suicide expert, an epidemiologist, a substance abuse expert, retired military personnel, a public health expert and a retired military chaplain.


“Committee members are in Washington this week to begin their work and in July they will begin visiting the facilities that were named in the on-site facility assessment report in March,” the press secretary said. of the Pentagon John F. Kirby during a briefing today. “The review of these initial installations will result in recommendations for the department that can be applied across our force.”


Kirby said the committee’s initial report was due to the secretary in December and its final report and recommendations were due to Congress in February 2023.





















As part of their work, committee members will conduct a comprehensive review of the Department’s efforts to address and prevent suicide. This will involve tours of military installations, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and a confidential survey of service members at designated locations.


Committee members will visit a range of facilities in the United States and abroad. These facilities include Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Naval Air Station North Island, California; the North Carolina National Guard; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; and Camp Humphreys, South Korea. Committee members will also visit three facilities in Alaska.


The committee’s deliverables include both a report to the Secretary of Defense and to Congressional Armed Services Committees. Reports will detail achievable improvements to policies, programs, processes, and resources to prevent suicides in the military.




















 

“We have the strongest military in the world because we have the strongest team in the world,” Austin wrote in March in a memo that spearheaded the creation of the committee. “It is imperative that we take care of all of our teammates and continue to reinforce that mental health and suicide prevention remain a top priority. One death by suicide is one death too many. And suicide rates among our military are still too high. So clearly we still have work to do.”