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Association thanks Congress for continued support in preserving the military ranks of chief dental officers

February 17, 2016

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Association has reached out to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, thanking them for their continued support in preserving the military ranks of chief dental officers at two stars.

In a Feb. 17 letter, ADA President Carol Gomez Summerhays and Executive Director Kathleen T. O'Loughlin thanked the committees for "maintaining current law as it relates to the military ranks of chief dental officers in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016," and urged Congress to maintain that support as they begin drafting authorization language for 2017.

Each year, the National Defense Authorization Act assists lawmakers in setting policies regarding the military activities of the Department of Defense, military construction and the national security programs of the Department of Energy. In 2015, the ADA successfully lobbied for Congress to remove language from the legislation that called for reducing the ranks of the Army and Air Force chief dental officers from the current statutory grade of major general to a grade above colonel.

"We believe that preserving these positions will not only safeguard the quality of oral health care for our nation's service members but also prevent potential negative effects on the recruiting and retention of dental officers in our armed forces," wrote Drs. Summerhays and O'Loughlin.

The letter was sent to Senators John McCain, chairman, Jack Reed (ranking member), Lindsay Graham, personnel subcommittee chairman, and Kirsten Gillibrand, personal subcommittee ranking member; and Representatives Mac Thornberry, chairman, Adam Smith, ranking member, Joe Heck, Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman, and Susan Davis, Military Personnel Subcommittee Ranking Member.

"As the oldest and largest dental professional organization in the world, the ADA is committed to the oral health of all Americans and is particularly concerned with the oral health of the citizens who serve in our armed services. We respectfully request that, during legislative negotiations, you oppose any provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 that would reduce the current ranks of the Army and Air Force Chief Dental Officers," concluded Drs. Summerhays and O'Loughlin.