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Senator part of effort to fix POW/MIA issue

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., has joined with U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., in urging the Pentagon to provide information about problems within the Department of Defense organizations responsible for finding and bringing home the remains of POWs and MIAs.

At a Financial and Contracting Oversight Subcommittee hearing on Aug. 1, McCaskill and Ayotte questioned Pentagon officials regarding reports of mismanagement and internal divisions between the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Acting Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO).

According to a joint statement from the two senators’ offices Thursday, both senators “expressed deep concern that jurisdictional infighting, poor organizational structure, and lack of leadership were hindering the department’s mission to find, identify, and bring home the remains of America’s fallen heroes.”

“The hearing revealed that the Department has never had a comprehensive plan to delineate the responsibilities and roles of the components within the accounting community,” the senators wrote in a letter to Secretary of Defense Hagel.

“While we were encouraged to hear that DMPO and JPAC have finally begun work on the long overdue plan, we were concerned to hear that the plan was still in ‘coordination.’ We were also troubled to learn that the department’s approach to accounting may be doing families more harm than good by failing to provide them with a realistic assessment of the possibility of identifying missing service members.”

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