McCaskill plans to introduce POW legislation

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(KANSAS CITY, Mo., AP) — Sen. Claire McCaskill said Friday she plans to introduce legislation requiring U.S. defense officials to address mismanagement in a military-led unit responsible for recovering and identifying U.S. service members missing in action.

McCaskill’s remarks come several months after an Associated Press story revealed an internal Pentagon report that was harshly critical of the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command, which searches for missing soldiers’ remains. The Pentagon report included accusations of misconduct among those responsible for overseas missions to investigate prospects for recovering remains.
“At a minimum, we need to be effective efficient, good stewards of tax dollars and honest and transparent about the recovery of those who have paid the ultimate price,” McCaskill said at a news conference at the National World War I Museum at the Liberty Memorial.
McCaskill said she’s preparing an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that would give the Department of Defense one year to submit a plan for reorganizing and improving accountability within the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC.
“We are now facing still 83,000 MIA brave heroes that remains have not been recovered. We have two different parts of the military that are trying to grapple with this, and when things go wrong they have the tendency to point the finger at each other,” McCaskill said.
She said the amendment would also require the Pentagon to report the number of current POWs and MIAs, the number to be believed lost at sea, the number awaiting identification and the number of cases that have been interred without identification.
“I do not believe that families have gotten all of the information they deserve,” she said.
The Pentagon’s inspector general has said it will also conduct a noncriminal probe of “potential fraud, waste and abuse” of resources by the MIA accounting agencies. And, the Government Accountability Office has issued a report recommending a more streamlined chain of command and other organizational changes for the MIA accounting unit, which the GAO said was hampered by weak leadership, infighting and poor planning.