Kelly and Cotton Introduce Legislation to Study Cancer Impacts Among Current and Former Military Aviators

Today, Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced the Aviator Cancers Examination Study (ACES) Act, bipartisan legislation to address cancer rates among Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps aircrew members. A bipartisan House companion bill was introduced by Representatives August Pfluger (R-TX-11) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-19) last year. 

The ACES Act would direct the Veterans Administration to work with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to study the prevalence and mortality of cancer among individuals who served as active-duty aircrew of a fixed-wing aircraft in the U.S. Armed Forces.  

“As a former Navy pilot, I understand the sacrifices aviators make every day, but the fact is we need to improve our understanding on some of the unseen risks facing aircrews,” said Kelly. “This bipartisan legislation will boost our knowledge to better address this terrible disease among veterans and recognize what needs to be corrected to help mitigate the threat among current service members.” 

“We owe it to past, present, and future aviators in the armed forces to study the prevalence of cancer among this group of veterans. Our legislation will make the necessary commitments to protect our men and women in uniform long after their service has ended,” said Cotton

Click here to read the bill text. 

The ACES Act is complementary to Kelly’s bipartisan Counting Veterans’ Cancer Act, which requires Veterans’ Health Administration facilities to share cancer data with state cancer registries, thereby guaranteeing their inclusion in the national registries. It will also help identify cancer-related disparities among veterans, improve the understanding of their cancer-related needs, and increase opportunities for veterans with cancer to be included in clinical trials, cancer-related research, and analysis. Key provisions of the Counting Veterans’ Cancer Act were included in the first government funding package of Fiscal Year 2024.