Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the Veterans’ Advisory Board on Dose Reconstruction and why was it created?
The Veterans’ Advisory Board on Dose Reconstruction (VBDR) has been established in accordance with Section 601 of Public Law 108-183 (http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/policy/pl108-183.pdf) to provide guidance and oversight of the dose reconstruction and claims compensation programs for Veterans. The VBDR is composed of experts in radiation health effects and risk communication, Veterans, and representatives from VA and DTRA. The VBDR is governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), PL 92-463, as amended (5 U.S.C. App 2), which sets forth standards for the formation and conduct of advisory committees.
Why was the VBDR established?
On the basis of the National Research Council report, entitled “Review of the Dose Reconstruction Program of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency,” conclusions were drawn on the need for improvements in the dose reconstruction and claim adjudication procedures and the need to establish an independent advisory board.
What is the charge of the VBDR?
The charge is to provide guidance and oversight of the dose reconstruction and claims compensation programs and improve communications for Veterans.
When was the VBDR established?
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Defense jointly established the 16-member board in accordance with Section 601 of Public Law 108-183, and the board was chartered on November 24, 2004. The board members were appointed on June 3, 2005 and were approved by the White House Liaison Office the same day. The current Chairman of the VBDR is Lieutenant General (Ret.) Charles H. Roadman II, M.D., a former Surgeon General of the U.S. Air Force. The VBDR is composed of experts in radiation health effects and risk communication, Veterans, and representatives from VA and DTRA.
What is the budget for the VBDR?
Total annual operating costs are estimated at $475,000.
Where is the VBDR located?
Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) provides technical and administrative support for the VBDR. Administratively, the VBDR is located at:
Veterans’ Advisory Board on Dose Reconstruction
c/o Applied Research Associates, Inc.
801 North Quincy Street
Arlington, VA 22203
How can I contact the VBDR?
You can contact the VBDR through its toll-free line at 1-866-657-VBDR (8237). The VBDR website is http://vbdr.org or you can email the
Who has primary responsibility for the advisory board?
The Department of Defense (DoD) has the primary responsibility for the advisory board and has appointed a Designated Federal Officer to oversee compliance with Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) regulations. The advisory board members and chairperson were appointed by DoD and VA in accordance with FACA regulations. For more information on FACA, go to: http://www.fido.gov/facadatabase/.
How long do the board members serve?
Board members, upon approval, become special government employees and are entered into the civil service system by the Washington Headquarters Service. Each board member receives a one-year appointment that must be renewed annually.
Who is the designated federal officer on the board?
The designated federal officer is Stephen Polchek.
What criteria were used to select board members?
Board members were selected to fulfill the statutory requirements mandated by Congress in Section 601 of Public Law 108-183. They were also selected to provide expertise in historical dose reconstruction, radiation health matters, risk communication, radiation epidemiology, medicine, quality management, decision analysis and ethics, as well as a VA representative, a DTRA representative, three Veterans, one of which is a member of an Atomic Veterans group to better enable the VBDR to represent and address Veterans’ concerns.
Who are the board members, and what are their qualifications?
Biographical information is available for each of the current board members and board members emeritus.
How does the VBDR operate?
The VBDR is governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), PL 92-463, as amended (5 U.S.C. App 2), which sets forth standards for the formation and conduct of government advisory committees. The advisory board will:
- Conduct periodic, random audits of dose reconstructions and decisions on claims for radiogenic diseases under the dose reconstruction program.
- Assist the VA and DTRA in communicating to Veterans information on the mission, procedures and evidentiary requirements of the dose reconstruction program.
- Make such recommendations on modifications in the procedures of the dose reconstruction program as the advisory board considers appropriate as a result of audits performed under item (1) above.
- Carry out such activities with respect to the review and oversight of the Dose Reconstruction Program as the Secretaries shall jointly specify.
The advisory board provides oversight and guidance on new issues in the dose reconstruction program as they arise, including implementation of the future plans described in this report. The advisory board should also develop and communicate quantifiable measures of success and opportunities for improvement of the dose reconstruction program and the claims adjudication process.
Will members of the VBDR speak as individuals to Veterans’ organizations?
Yes, but they can only speak for themselves, and not for the VBDR except when the VBDR has already approved the stated content of their remarks.
Where can I get a copy of 38 CFR 3.309?
How do I file a claim?
The Department of Veterans Affairs Regional offices can be contacted to file a claim through its toll-free help line at (800) 827-1000. VA office locations can be found at (http://www.va.gov/directory/).
Or by writing to Department of Justice claims information can be obtained through its toll-free help line at (800) 729-7327 or write to the:
Radiation Exposure Compensation Program
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 146
Washington, D.C. 20044-0146
Can the VBDR help with my claim?
When and where was the first VBDR meeting held?
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) held the first public meeting of the Veterans’ Advisory Board of Dose Reconstruction on Wednesday and Thursday, 17 & 18 August 2005 in Tampa, Florida at the Hyatt Regency, 211 North Tampa Street, Tampa, FL 33602. Meeting materials are available here.
Can I attend Advisory Board Meetings?
Yes. The date, time, location, and the proposed agenda for upcoming meetings will be publicly announced in the Federal Register and can be found on the VBDR website at http://vbdr.org. A news release announcing each meeting will be disseminated to the news media and Veterans groups. For more information, you can contact VBDR toll-free at 1-866-657-VBDR (8237).
The DTRA Public Affairs point of contact is Cheri Abdelnour , (703) 767-5860; fax (703) 767-4450. The VA Public Affairs point of contact is Jim Benson , (202) 273-5705