Tuesday, July 15, 2014

83,000 Americans still missing from past conflicts

DOD: New POW/MIA accounting agency to open in January
Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
Published: July 15, 2014
The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. JPAC's mission is to conduct global search, recovery and laboratory operations to identify unaccounted-for Americans form past conflicts.

WASHINGTON — Defense Department officials testified Tuesday that the new agency to replace the troubled POW/MIA accounting community in charge of recovering and repatriating the remains of troops killed in past conflicts will be stood up on Jan. 1.

The agency will consolidate the work of the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office and the Joint Personnel Accounting Command as ordered by the secretary of defense in February, said Michael Lumpkin, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict.

Lumpkin testified before the House Armed Services’ military personnel subcommittee, which for years has pressed for reform and in 2009 helped pass a congressional mandate that the DOD recover at minimum of 200 remains annually beginning next year.

On Tuesday, Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., chairman of the House subcommittee, said he was pleased that the DOD is moving ahead with the changes.

“What a positive report — that is very unusual in Congress,” he said.

The DOD efforts to recover 83,000 Americans still missing from past conflicts have so far fallen far below the goal set by Congress and been dogged by incompetence and dysfunction, including claims agencies ignored leads, arguing against identifying remains in government custody, desecrated and mishandled of remains, and failed to keep critical records.
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