I write in response to Mr. Pat Elder’s Op-Ed article published in the CTNewsJunkie on April 21, 2014, regarding SB 423: An Act Concerning Student Privacy and the Administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (“ASVAB”). The ASVAB is a military aptitude test that serves as an entrance exam for the military and a means to slate potential recruits with specific jobs. SB 423 would require parental consent if the student is a minor before the student’s ASVAB score is released to military recruiters. While SB 423 is a well-intended bill, I worry it produces negative, unintended consequences for Connecticut students as well as the overall military culture.
In his Op-Ed, Mr. Elder starts by expressing his frustration that the bill was referred to the Veterans’ Affairs Committee after it was approved by a 22-10 vote in the Education Committee. As a member of the Veteran Affairs Committee, I can attest to the committee’s importance and oversight of this issue. Two legislative sessions ago, it was correctly decided to make the Veterans’ Affairs Committee a full-standing committee rather than a “select” committee. As a consequence, the Co-Chairs of the Veteran Affairs Committee can bring legislation directly to the House and Senate floors like any other full-standing committee. The committee also has a history of addressing military recruiting issues. For instance in 2013 the committee raised SB 836 which dealt with military recruiting, and also, the fact that SB 423 directly affects the military lends credence that the bill should have been referred to the committee.
Moreover, I respectfully disagree with Mr. Elder’s policy arguments regarding SB 423. My own personal military story will serve to explain my position. I was a junior in college when the tragedy of 9/11 befell on all of us. Like many in my generation, this horrific event was the catalyst that drove me to military service. At the time, a few of my classmates were becoming commissioned officers in the United States Marine Corps, and the Marine Corps Officer Program appealed to me for many reasons.
David Alexander is the State Representative for Enfield’s 58th District. He served four years on Active Duty in the United States Marine Corps. He is currently a Captain in the Marine Corps Reserve where he serves as the Executive Officer for H&S Company with 1st Battalion, 25th Marines.