Press Releases

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced legislation to improve access to specialized training that would ensure Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) grant-funded cemeteries meet and maintain the National Cemetery Administration’s (NCA) National Shrine Commitment.  

The NCA sets standards for maintaining VA national cemeteries. Although state and tribal cemeteries are held to the same benchmarks and measures, they often fall short of meeting the requirements due to a lack of adequate and appropriate training. While the NCA offers training to state VA cemetery employees at no cost to the state, the VA does not currently cover travel costs for the training of these individuals.The cost of travel prevents some organizations from sending representatives to learn the proper procedures. 

This legislation simply adds travel for training as an allowable expense to already existing grant programs established for the maintenance and operation of state veteran cemeteries. 

“Making it easier for cemetery personnel to learn the procedures and nationwide standards is commonsense so we can honor the men and women who served our country in uniform with the tribute they deserve,” Boozman said.

“We owe it to our veterans and their families to ensure that our state and tribal cemeteries are properly looked after,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.“By helping cemetery personnel get the proper, specialized training they need, we are honoring the courageous role men and women played in preserving our freedom and protecting this country.”   

To help states and tribal organizations meet the VA’s high standard for veteran memorial benefits, NCA’s National Training Center (NTC) in St. Louis, Missouri allows state and tribal employees to attend training provided to national cemetery employees. This training allows cemetery employees to learn procedures such as those required for setting headstones and markers in accordance with National Shrine Commitment standards, ensuring proper height and alignment of headstones.