Kaine, Mullen speak about base security, mental health issues

This undated photo provided by Glidden Lopez shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez. Authorities said Lopez killed three people and wounded 16 others in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, before killing himself. Investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Glidden Lopez)

(WAVY) – The shooting at Fort Hood again put national attention on how to better support troops returning home from war.

Suspect shooter Specialist Ivan Lopez suffered depression and anxiety. Mental health professionals were evaluating him for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sunday morning, a Virginia senator and a retired admiral talked about the challenge of dealing with mental health issues among service members.

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen spoke on Meet the Press about the stress 13 years of war has placed on U.S. forces. Mullen believes we might soon see even more effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental issues.

“Now that more people are coming home, I think we’re going to see an increased number of challenges associated with that, and we all need to wrap our arms around the force to help them deal with that,” said Mullen. “I don’t think this is just a military problem, it’s a national problem. We’re short mental health professionals in the military, just as we are across the country.”

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine spoke on Fox News Sunday. He said budget cuts further stress an already stressed military.

“When we’re requiring them to do across-the-board cuts, we do have to look at the effects of those cuts on mental health services or base security,” said Kaine, adding the military should look at perimeter security in particular.

Earlier this week, General Ray Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army, reiterated his support for the military policy of only arming certain soldiers on bases.

Kaine supported Odierno’s position, but said the military should reassess all security measures. If the military found allowing more guns on bases would help with security, Kaine said he would support it.

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