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Mired in Dysfunction, POW-MIA Recovery Falling Woefully Short

"Top-level leadership must take responsibility for nearly running the organization into ruin."

by
Bridget Johnson

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July 22, 2013 - 6:24 pm
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Two separate reviews have found the Defense Department’s operation for locating prisoners of war and service members missing in action to be disorganized and “dysfunctional” despite a 2009 directive from Congress to meet annual identification and recovery targets by 2015.

The Pentagon reports more than 83,000 U.S. personnel still missing from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War and the Persian Gulf. In 2009, Congress required the DoD to structure resources as necessary to account for 200 missing persons a year by the target date. That legislation also added location of WWII fighters, which account for about 10,000 of the total missing personnel, to the DoD’s responsibility.

In a report released last week, the General Accounting Office found that the “mission is being undermined by longstanding leadership weaknesses and a fragmented organizational structure.”

“Leadership from the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USD Policy) and U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) have not been able to resolve disagreements among accounting community members, thereby impacting DOD’s ability to meet the mandated goal of increasing its capability and capacity to account for 200 missing persons a year by 2015,” the GAO reported.

By the end of 2012, the accounting community had located and identified an average of 72 missing persons each year.

The GAO found that the DoD had not completed the comprehensive plan required by Congress in 2009, and had only established criteria to prioritize recovery efforts for those missing in Vietnam.

A survey of staff within the accounting community found frustration over a lack of centralized command, inefficient overlap, conflicts among members and poor organization.

The 87-page GAO report follows a scathing internal Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command report that painted the department as mismanaged, corrupt, using lackluster science, dragging its feet and heading from “dysfunction to total failure.”

“It’s appalling that the DOD’s JPAC has evolved into such a dysfunctional bureaucracy that family members of POW/MIA have to suffer the consequences of the DOD’s inadequacies,” Amber Barno of Concerned Veterans for America told PJM. “Leadership mismanagement and misguided priorities are deeply disappointing to those family members who are still waiting for their loved ones to return home.”

Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, told reporters at the Pentagon after details of the JPAC report came out that he didn’t agree with the characterization of the accounting community as dysfunctional.

“That command has a very important mission that is — has, I think, a sacred duty to do all we can to return the remains of our fallen to their loved ones. And — but it’s also a unique mission for the U.S. military. And it has a set number of experts that deal with this that are limited in number,” Locklear said.

“We have had a number of looks — internal looks at this organization over time, and, in particularly, after the Congress NDA 2010 required them to up the number of remains that were being recovered. And so, we’ve had ongoing looks at how that organization needs to be structured and how it can be most efficient,” he continued.

“So to characterize it as dysfunctional, I don’t necessarily agree with that. But I do think that there are areas where we need to take harder looks at how it is organized and how the mission steps are prioritized …I can tell you I think it’s one perspective, but we need to take a broader look.”

The chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel said he thought Congress was “very clear” in its 2009 directive that a comprehensive path forward was imperative.

“We certainly last year realized that progress was not being made,” Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) told PJM today, adding that he thought the time allowance originally granted by Congress to bring recovery efforts up to snuff was “reasonable.”

Wilson said he is bringing together the authors of each report to testify before his subcommittee on Aug. 1.

The Republican chairman and Ranking Member Susan Davis (D-Calif.) issued a joint statement in response to the GAO findings, saying “senior Defense Department officials have failed to both execute this directive and to prevent fragmentation of the accounting effort.”

“As a result, the nation is no closer today to achieving the minimal goal of accounting for just 200 missing persons annually than it was four years ago,” Wilson and Davis continued. “…The current Pentagon leadership has had ample time to get this moral imperative right. It is time for them to exercise firm, steady judgment and innovation to make the priority of accounting for 200 prisoners of war a year a reality.”

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All Comments   (10)
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just as Heather said I am shocked that any body can profit $5264 in 4 weeks on the internet. have you seen this page http://www.max47.com
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Two separate reviews have found the Defense Department’s operation for locating prisoners of war and service members missing in action to be disorganized and “dysfunctional” despite a 2009 directive from Congress to meet annual identification and recovery targets by 2015.

The Pentagon reports more than 83,000 U.S. personnel still missing from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War and the Persian Gulf. In 2009, Congress required the DoD to structure resources as necessary to account for 200 missing persons a year by the target date. That legislation also added location of WWII fighters, which account for about 10,000 of the total missing personnel, to the DoD’s responsibility..."

This is disgraceful, coming as it does from a lack of dedication from none other than the Crown Prince of Crappola, or Barack Hussein Mohammed Obama, himself. Obama has found better uses for the funding previously set for recovery of MIAs, probably in his "Family Vacation Fund."

The point of the MIA program is that "We, the People, are motivated to find our missing GIs, even if they date back to the Civil War. WW2 missing are obviously not going to be found alive and hiding, but their mortal remains should be scraped together if necessary, re-discovered and returned to rest in this country, not left to mold away in some god-forsaken briar patch in France, Italy, North Africa, or Germany. That's the People's bargain with those we asked to serve and die in our name. This has nothing to do with some cheap political hack in the White House, or Congress. Nothing!

We already know Obama is only interested in Obama. Maybe it is time the narcissistic SOB realizes that there are things that are more important than Obama.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A more practical view of the MIA recovery issues needs to be set out. Folks, WW2 ended in 1945, that is to say, 67 years ago. There are no survivors of those 60,000-plus who were MIA from that war; the youngest of them would be 85 years old. Let it go, let them go, they're gone and nothing will change that. In most cases, there won't be any remains to return, in any event. Consider the conditions of their imprisonment, consider the conditions under which they died (how much is left of a person after being hit by a near miss or direct hit from even light artillery?? for instance), consider that little or no care would have been given to their remains. Nothing left. Sorry to burst your bubbles and don't mean to sound cruel, but as Jack Webb used to say, "Just the facts." The same considerations apply to those MIA's from the Korean War, which ended about 1953. Vietnam and subsequent wars have much lower MIA numbers and the sad truth is that there is a very very very low probability of any of them being recovered alive, and less for their remains. Same points as for the WW2 MIA's, but heavier on the "hit by artillery" and lighter on the "too long ago" factors. Very few American kids the age we were back then could have survived in the jungles, in war time. They are, whether we like it or not, gone. Their situations were and are not like the woman who was "found" living in Canada after being missing 50 years. Nor like the three young women released from kidnapped captivity after 10 years. They were killed in ways that likely caused no detectable remains. They were held captive by brutal foes who did not abide by the Geneva Convention's rules on prisoner care. What makes you think those captors would have treated their remains any better? Facts; face the facts. No matter how much we loved them and how much they loved us, no matter how deep our hurt our grief, our sense of loss may be, they are gone. Period. Let them go and let yourselves heal. Those of you who make a living off of this, find another occupation, one less ghoulish perhaps. No offense to those who have worked for all these years out of love and commitment to their buddies; but a bunch of folks have been making a living off of the MIA's. It's long past time, folks. Give them a rest; give yourselves a long cry, wipe your eyes and go on. You have kids, grandkids, siblings, spouses ... Don't forget them, honor them, love them, but let them go on to whatever you believe comes after this life. God bless you all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“We have had a number of looks — internal looks at this organization ... And so, we’ve had ongoing looks ... there are areas where we need to take harder looks ... we need to take a broader look.”

Maybe this clown needs to stop LOOKING and start WORKING.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As to the WWII MIA, many of them could be found if Russia gave a little cooperation. It's believed somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 in Polish POW camps were taken to Russia in the final days of WWII. Stalin denied this of course.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If the US government cannot effectively recover the bodies of Men that have given their all for the country, If the Dept of Defense cannot provide fully for the needs of our current soldiers, and if V.A. cannot even clear up the hundreds of thousands of claims of veterans that have suffered injury and harm for our behalf...HOW THE HELL will this unfeeling government take care of my (your) health needs , being just an ordinary citizen, with the (more chaotic everyday) Obamacare. Using the little common sense that god gave you, it's an easy thing to figure out...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
While the intention was obviously to do right by these vets, the fact of the matter has been, at least under Obama Inc., that no one should be delusional enough to believe that this regime will pay ANY rightful attention to these poor souls. Why? For the past 5 years they have been reflexively hostile to vets!
How much so? Well, if this doesn't demonstrate their animus, nothing will, and their brhavior involves live ones! http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/07/13/mama-janet-resignsyet-dhs-their-fixation-on-vets-will-continue-a-regimes-penchant-for-spying-putin-esque-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

Time to admit the truth.

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Mired in Dysfunction, POW-MIA Recovery Falling Woefully Short"

Our government gets away with all sorts of acts of bad faith by claiming "dysfunction".

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/mccain-and-the-pow-cover-up/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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