Amo Launches District Veterans Advisory Committee

 

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Congressman Gabe Amo and members of his District Veterans Advisory Committee composed of Veterans, Veterans organization leaders, and active local military stakeholders 

 

PAWTUCKET, RI – The day after Memorial Day, Congressman Gabe Amo (RI-01) hosted the first meeting of the newly-established District Veterans Advisory Committee — a critical resource and sounding board to help advocate for Rhode Island Veterans and military families. In addition to advising Congressman Amo regarding federal funding priorities, Veteran and military-related events, and engaging with local Veterans’ organizations, the committee will serve as a resource for recommendations on federal legislation and district office priorities.

 

“Veterans across Rhode Island have sacrificed enormously to safeguard the freedoms that we value and enjoy,” said Congressman Gabe Amo. “To more effectively represent the brave individuals who serve our country and their loved ones in the halls of Congress, I’m proud to establish this District Veterans Advisory Committee. I look forward to seeking insights and wisdom from this broad swath of individuals who have a long history of supporting Veterans in our state. I particularly want to thank Dr. Berbick and Colonel Harmon for co-chairing the committee and each member of our committee for their willingness to continue serving our community by engaging with our office as essential members of our first advisory committee.”

 

The two co-chairs of the District Veterans Advisory Committee are Dr. Walter Berbick and Colonel Sharon Harmon. Dr. Berbrick is a former Navy intelligence officer and current military analyst at the Naval War College. COL Sharon Harmon currently serves as the Joint Resilience Director for the Rhode Island National Guard and broke barriers in 2022 as the first Black person to achieve the rank of colonel in the history of the Rhode Island National Guard.

 

“Today, as we grapple with key national security challenges—from major conflicts facing fellow democracies, Israel and Ukraine to bullying and coercion from an increasingly assertive China—this committee offers independent, informed insights and advice to Congressman Amo on all aspects of our military and Veterans who work and sacrifice to defend this country every day,” said Dr. Berbrick.  “It is my pleasure and honor to work alongside Colonel Harmon and the rest of our team to help shape key decisions that take care of our people and prepare our military to deter, and if necessary, win our nation’s wars.”

 

"As co-chair of the Veterans Advisory Committee, I am honored to stand with our service members and Veterans who exemplify courage, commitment, and resilience,” said Colonel Harmon. “ Our mission is to ensure that every Veteran in Rhode Island receives the support and recognition they deserve through impactful legislation.  Together, we can strengthen our community and honor the sacrifices made by those who have served our nation. Let us continue to advocate for policies that support our Veterans’ health, well-being, and integration into civilian life, ensuring they receive the respect and opportunities they have earned."

 

BACKGROUND

Dr. Walter Berbrick is a senior national security executive, strategist, and advisor with two decades of experience leading teams in policy, intelligence, military and academic communities at the highest levels of government. He currently serves as an analyst in the War Gaming Department at U.S. Naval War College, and spent the past 15 years as a professor at the Naval War College, serving in national security roles at the State Department and Pentagon, and in the U.S Navy. 

 

Colonel Sharon Harmon currently serves as the Joint Resilience Director for the Rhode Island National Guard. After enlisting in the Army Reserve in 1985 and completing basic training in South Carolina, COL Harmon returned to Rhode Island and completed the officer candidate program at Camp Varnum in Narragansett. Previous assignments in her career include a stint as a chemical officer with the 103rd Field Artillery Regiment in Providence, a deployment to Afghanistan with the 143rd Military Police Brigade during Operation Enduring Freedom, and a term as Joint Force Headquarters Commander at Camp Fogarty in East Greenwich. RI.

 

Since being sworn in, Congressman Amo taken several steps to support Veterans. On February 29, 2024, he voted to prevent a government shutdown which would have negatively affected millions of active-duty servicemembers and Veterans across the country. He also announced over $586,000 in federal funds to help homeless Veterans and their families find permanent housing as well as proudly co-leading a recent bipartisan resolution to establish “Vets Get Outside Day.” Lastly, on May 24th, 2024, Congressman Amo introduced a bipartisan bill to recognize America’s first integrated military unity — the First Rhode Island Regiment — by posthumously awarding its members with the Congressional Gold Medal.

 

Congressman Amo’s District Veterans Advisory Committee fulfills his promise to remain connected, active, and accessible to Rhode Island’s First Congressional District. Through its work, the committee is expected to advise Congressman Amo on Veteran and military-related issues. By listening to a broad and diverse group of key Veterans and military stakeholders, he remains focused on achieving results and serving those who have served our country. Additionally, as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Congressman Amo is looking forward to working with the District Veterans Advisory Committee as he advocates for Rhode Island’s longstanding connection with the Navy through the Naval War College and Naval Station Newport.

 

Full list of District Veterans Advisory Committee members:

Dr. Walter Berbrick

COL Sharon Harmon
Kasim Yarn
Frank Lennon
Lisa Lavasseur
Joseph Shottek

Erik Wallen

John Gallo

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