Beginning The New Century
Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office
DPMO on the Internet: http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/
This annual report highlights their successes and their continuing challenges in seeking to achieve our national objectives.
Throughout this report, you will see that all of us are mindful of obligations to the families of those Americans who made the supreme sacrifice, and who are still unaccounted-for. Our analysis, our policy oversight, our outreach . . . all remind us of those who patiently await the final answers. This is a somber obligation that we all take very seriously.
You will see in this report the successes we have enjoyed with the cooperation of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, China, Russia and many other former adversaries who are today helping us in our work to account for thousands of missing Americans. From the jungles of Papua New Guinea, to the plains of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia; from the rice paddies of Vietnam; to the karsts of Laos; to the plains of Cambodia and North Korea; you will find DPMO people working with their counterparts from other agencies to honor the names and memories of those who have gone before us.
Each year, as I reflect on these reports, I am honored to have worked with these dedicated people. But this is not my report. It is theirs. The work pictured here will carry on the memory of Americans still unaccounted-for from Vietnam, from the Korean War, from the Cold War and from World War II.
I commend it to your reading.
Korean War Accounting
China. During a January visit by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs (DASD) Robert L. Jones to Beijing, the Chinese agreed to the initiation of an oral history program that focuses on interviews with Chinese veterans of the Korean War. This program may give DPMO researchers information to help in the accounting effort. DPMO interviewers conducted the first sessions in September with four Chinese veterans who were involved with the administration of Korean War POW camps. This represents substantive progress with China in our Korean War accounting effort and a major step toward greater engagement with the Chinese PeopleÕs Liberation Army (PLA).
Also during that visit, the Chinese suggested that a U.S. and Chinese Korean War vet-to-vet exchange take place as a means of boosting confidence and cooperation between the two countries. Plans officers in DPMO are working with the Chinese to finalize the details of this proposal.
North Korea. During the 50th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, DPMO efforts to account for missing Americans from that conflict have continued to improve. After the unsuccessful talks in Berlin in December 1999, DPMO negotiators met their North Korean PeopleÕs Army (KPA) counterparts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in June. The KPA came to the table with no preconditions to conducting recovery operations. An agreement was reached for U.S. teams from CILHI to conduct five operations during 2000.
This was a banner year in terms of total number of remains recovered. Teams from CILHI recovered 65 sets of remains of U.S. servicemen from North Korea bringing the total number recovered since joint recovery operations (JRO) began in 1996 to 107. The success of this yearÕs operations was due to the good cooperation shown by the KPA and the hard work of CILHI and DPMO. Secretary of State Albright highlighted this cooperation and hard work to the visiting Democratic PeopleÕs Republic of Korea (DPRK) Vice-Minister, Marshal Jo Myong Nok in October during his visit to Washington.
The stage for further success was set when Mr. Jones traveled to Pyongyang in September to repatriate U.S. remains recovered during the third JRO. He met with a senior KPA officer to begin the process for establishing when and where the DPRK and U.S. would meet to discuss JROs in 2001. During this meeting, the KPA pressed to have DoD provide aid through the KPA to help allay "anti-American sentiment among the North Korean people." He was informed that the proper method for such requests was to go through the U.S. State Department.
This insistence that the KPA follow established procedures paid off. During Deputy Director Alan LiottaÕs visit in early October the KPA notified him that they would continue to negotiate with DPMO on accounting for missing Americans without any preconditions. Another positive aspect of this visit was the KPA took the DPMO delegation to visit the Chosin (Changjin) Reservoir. This marked the first time since the Korean War that an official U.S. party visited this site. This action gives DPMO reason to believe the North Koreans may be willing to expand joint recovery operations into this area.
The Secretary of State visited the North Korean leader, Kim Jong II, in Pyongyang in late October. During her visit she pointed out to Kim with pride that our joint efforts to fully account for missing American servicemen from the Korean War was the bright spot in the U.S.-DPRK bilateral relationship.
DPMO is building on the outstanding success of this yearÕs recovery operations. We have proposed to the KPA to meet with DPMO negotiators in December 2000 to discuss joint recovery operations in 2001. It is our hope that the KPA will build on the positive outcome of our operations so far and expand the total number of operations in the future. Also, during these talks, DPMO will continue to pressure the KPA to discuss the issue of unsubstantiated reports about American soldiers being held against their will in North Korea.
South Korea. In March, a DPMO/CILHI delegation met their South Korean counterparts in Seoul to discuss ways to improve and institutionalize accounting operations in the Republic of Korea (ROK). As a result of their work, a Memorandum of Agreement between the U.S. and ROK was signed in June during the commemoration activities for the 50th Anniversary of the start of the Korean War. As the South Koreans search for and recover their own missing from the war, they will provide any information gathered on possible U.S. remains to DPMO and CILHI. U.S. Army graves registration teams in the South did an excellent job of recovering U.S. remains at the end of the war and we do not expect the recovery of large numbers of our remaining missing. DPMO does expect a number of additional sites to surface from our cooperation with ROK authorities. We will also work with the ROK to conduct future recoveries in the DMZ as the situation allows with the joint DPRK-ROK agreement to re-build the railway between the North and South.
This year, DPMO continued its efforts towards improving bilateral relations with the nations of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. DASD Robert L. Jones conducted visits with senior government officials in all three countries and initiated bilateral reviews of operational effectiveness and efficiency in recovery and investigative operations. Senior government officials from all three nations pledged their support to assisting the U.S. in their humanitarian efforts to bring closure to the many families of missing Americans. DPMO also sponsored initiatives to maintain funding and manpower levels for the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA) and CILHI. Our efforts resulted in the Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy DeLeonÕs commitment to continuing accounting levels in future budgets, ensuring a robust accounting effort is maintained in Southeast Asia.
Vietnam. During the year, DPMO maintained oversight over the accounting mission in Vietnam, ensuring their continued support in good faith in honoring the PresidentÕs four measurable criteria for cooperation. These four areas include:
In March, Secretary of Defense William Cohen made a historic visit to Vietnam. During his visit, he stressed to the Vietnamese that the fullest possible accounting for missing Americans would continue to be the most important issue in the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral relationship. The Secretary praised Vietnam for its cooperation and assistance to JTF-FA and CILHI recovery operations. He also requested the Vietnamese press forward with their best efforts to answer questions concerning Last Known Alive cases and the return of remains. Prior to his departure, Secretary Cohen visited an excavation site, praising our U.S. service members who volunteer for the arduous duty of remains recovery in primitive areas.
In April, U.S. and Vietnamese officials met in Da Nang, Vietnam to review and assess accounting operations in Vietnam. During this productive meeting, members from both nations discussed the many successes during the past years and explored ways to improve the effectiveness of future operations. The overall objective was to develop operations procedures to expedite recovery operations and bring closure to American families. The result of this meeting initiated the development of operational plans for upcoming operations.
In August, DASD Jones and his DPMO delegation visited Vietnam, conducting official meetings with Vietnamese officials from VietnamÕs National Assembly, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Ministry of National Defense (MND), Ministry of Interior (MOI), and the Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP). The team began each meeting by stressing to Vietnamese officials that, though the modality in which operations are accomplished may change, U.S. government commitment to accounting for missing Americans in Southeast Asia would continue with the upcoming change in leadership. Mr. Jones requested Vietnamese cooperation in providing witnesses and documents to insure trilateral investigation success in resolving cases in Laos, Cambodia, and the border regions between Vietnam and those two countries. He also stressed that though our joint investigations and recovery operations have been successful, if we are to account for all the missing in Vietnam, the U.S. needs the continued support from the Vietnamese government through unilateral investigations to resolve the most difficult cases.
The delegation addressed the most difficult issues of LKA and Live Sighting Investigations (LSI) by assuring Vietnamese officials that solving LKA/LSI discrepancy cases would continue to be the U.S. governmentÕs highest priority and stressed the need to continue joint and unilateral recovery efforts to solve these cases. Vietnamese officials provided assurances that Vietnam would continue to do its utmost to resolve these discrepancy cases. Though the release of the DPMO "Remains Study" went a long way toward resolving the question of whether Vietnam continues to store remains of Americans, many Americans still held the belief that Vietnam continues to hold remains. The Vietnamese were urged to provide documents and other information that can help resolve discrepancies noted in the Remains Study.
The year ended with President Clinton visiting Vietnam in November. He was the first president to visit Vietnam since the end of the war. DPMO was an integral member of the White House planning team in preparation for this historic event. We assisted the National Security Council in drafting talking points and developing the presidentÕs itinerary to ensure POW/MIA accounting was the primary issue he addressed with Vietnamese officials. Throughout his visit, the president stressed that Vietnamese cooperation on POW/MIA accounting has been the catalyst for binding a "new partnership" in U.S.-Vietnam bilateral relations. In addition to his official visits, the president conducted two POW/MIA events. Mr. Clinton visited the excavation site of a 1967 F-105 crash with the sons of the missing pilot and was a member of the official party that presided over the repatriation ceremony of three possible Americans. During public speeches and official calls on Vietnamese officials, President Clinton assured the Vietnamese that accounting for missing Americans in Southeast Asia would remain AmericaÕs highest priority in our relationship with Vietnam and stressed the requirement for Vietnamese unilateral efforts to search for leads and encourage citizens to come forward with information and artifacts that will assist us in bringing closure to American families still waiting for answers. He addressed the issue of live sighting reports and LKA cases, requesting that the Vietnamese press forward with their best efforts to answer the question of whether live Americans were left behind after the war.
Laos. During the year, DPMOÕs goal in Laos was to achieve Lao government cooperation in changing operating procedures and limitations in an effort to increase the pace of recovery operations. Our objective was to induce change in the following operating procedures:
DPMO strategy was to use a three-step plan to facilitate changes in Laos. First, conduct an official visit to Laos by DASD Jones to address U.S. desires for operational changes; second, facilitate a visit by the Lao Vice Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs to Washington, D.C. and Hawaii to address U.S. concerns in our accounting efforts in Laos and provide him with an orientation of our mission in the United States; and third, hold an operational review meeting to conduct frank discussion on improving the pace of operations.
Step one. DASD Jones visited Vientiane in August, addressing the main issues for improving the pace of operations in Laos. He stressed to Lao officials the importance of the December operations assessment meeting and that this assessment would lay the foundation for how we conduct operations under the new administration. In addition to discussing the operating procedural changes/limitations listed above, the delegation urged the Lao to continue their efforts to support the trilateral investigation program and allow access for Vietnamese witnesses to accompany investigative teams in the border areas of Laos-Vietnam. Unilateral efforts by the Lao in providing archival information and witnesses is crucial to resolving the remaining cases of missing Americans in Laos.
Step two. Two weeks after the trip to Laos in August, Mr. Jones hosted Vice Foreign Minister Phongsavath Boupha, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for an orientation of our accounting efforts in Washington, D.C., and of the JTF-FA and CILHI operations in Hawaii. During his visit, VFM Phongsavath was informed of U.S. government issues on recovery operations and several proposed changes to current operating procedures aimed at improving the pace of operations and ensuring the safety of U.S. personnel. Our objective was to gain senior Lao official support on issues that were raised at an operational assessment meeting between U.S.-Lao officials in September.
Step three. In September, JTF-FA hosted Lao officials in Hawaii for an operational assessment of our accounting efforts in Laos with members of DPMO, JTF-FA, and CILHI participating. Open and frank discussions were held on improving the pace of operations in Laos. U.S. officials addressed increasing the JFA personnel strength and JFA extensions, flexibility to schedule recovery operations outside of the programmed north-south excavation plan and direct MEDEVAC flights to Thailand to ensure team safety. Lao officials agreed in principle to the following:
U.S. officials agreed to take their agreements under consideration, but requested the team strength be reconsidered in December during consultative talks between the two governments.
In December, DPMO joined officials from JTF-FA and CILHI for consultative talks with the Lao government in Vientiane. After these talks, the Lao increased JTF-FA personnel to 50 and agreed to all U.S. proposals.
Cambodia. The year began with DASD Jones conducting a policy oversight trip to Cambodia. During his meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Mr. Jones thanked Cambodia for its unyielding assistance and cooperation in our accounting efforts in his country. He followed up on a December 1999 proposal for an assessment of operations in Cambodia to determine "what next" steps should be taken towards accounting efforts in Cambodia. He proposed that a meeting be held in March, hosted by the JTF-FA in Hawaii, to conduct an operational assessment of U.S. accounting efforts in Cambodia. Cambodian officials agreed to attend such a meeting. In addition, the delegation had the opportunity to conduct an oversight visit to an investigative element operation on Koh Tang (an island off Cambodia). Koh Tang was the site of the 1975 S.S. Mayaguez incident in which the last casualties of the Vietnam War occurred. The DPMO team had the opportunity to witness first hand interviews with former Khmer Rouge members who fought in the battle with American forces. On May 18th, the identifications of six Marines from the Mayaguez incident and a previous underwater recovery operation was released.
In March, U.S. officials met with the Cambodian POW/MIA Committee in Honolulu to assess past operations in Cambodia and discuss innovations to improve the efficiency of future operations. Both parties reviewed the operations completed since 1991 and the remaining cases in Cambodia, of which, eight that require unilateral investigation by the Vietnamese and four that require unilateral U.S. research. In addition, the Cambodian POW/MIA Committee was presented examples of unilateral investigation paperwork to assist the committee in conducting unilateral investigation activities.
In August, Mr. Jones and DPMO staff members met with Cambodian officials in Phnom Penh as part of his oversight visit to Southeast Asia. He stressed that Cambodian efforts to produce leads were required to account for our missing personnel in Cambodia. Former Khmer Rouge members who served along the border areas with Vietnam during the war may hold information on American losses. The DASD requested assistance in locating and gaining access for Stony Beach to interview former Khmer Rouge members. Cambodian officials promised to assist in finding credible witnesses and to continue Cambodian unilateral efforts to produce leads. Trilateral investigations are key to finding leads on missing Americans in Cambodia. The delegation informed Cambodian officials that the Vietnamese had agreed to assist in searching for documents and providing witnesses who served in Cambodia during the war. He continued by urging Cambodia to assist and cooperate in this program.
The year 2000 was the most active year since DoD began its direct negotiations with North Korea for joint remains recovery. Northeast Asia (NEA) Division oral history program interviews topped 1,000 this year and the remains recovery effort in North Korea, in which Research and Analysis (RA) Directorate participated directly, more than doubled in repatriations from all previous years combined. They also led the production of a DPMO report that chronicled the accounting effort since 1951.
OHP. We continued to pursue our Oral History Program with U.S. veterans. Members attended a record 12 unit reunions for the year (including the 1st Cavalry Division and its Florida Chapter; Chosin Few, and its Army Chapter; 24th Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division; 45th Infantry Division; Korean War Veterans Alliance; 2nd Infantry Division; Korean War Ex-POWs; and the 8th Bomb Squadron). From these events and additional phone contacts DPMO has ended the year with a total of 1,043 interviews. Several of these interviews provided direct information on individuals or groups lost during the war. Through Chinese MFA cooperation, the interviews were expanded to Chinese veterans - volunteer administrators in POW Camp 1 and Camp 5. The veteransÕ interviews were helpful to DPMO in the accounting effort as they allowed us to verify prison camp cemetery locations for Camp 5. None of the veterans recalled individuals who could be classified as still missing; two recalled famous returnees, Major General William Dean and Associated Press photographer Frank Noel.
PMKOR. RA continued to make refinements to the Persons Missing Korea (PMKOR) database, a 60,000-field working list of missing from the Korean War. With coordination among the services, over 1,600 administrative updates were made. The database was also annotated for the four identifications made by CILHI during the year. Some of these administrative changes were made based on input from the public. Visitation to the website has tripled and file downloads quadrupled over the past year.
Archival Research Support. In February, a DPMO team traveled to the U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, in February. The purpose of this trip was to continue the effort of developing detailed U.S. and Chinese order of battle databases. The U.S. information was helpful in improving PMKOR unit column identification data. The Chinese information was needed as background to support research requests to the PeopleÕs Republic of China MFA on getting access to specific PLA units from the Korean War, which were known to be in combat with U.S. units. Research on this effort was not restricted to archives; RA also reviewed commercial Chinese language publications produced in China on the Chinese POW Camp system and PLA 50th Korean War Anniversary articles on the Korean War.
Support to Policymakers. RA supported the policy leaders in their high-level talks with Northeast Asia governments. In March, during a meeting with the ROK Ministry of Defense, RA presented its methodology and working tools for conducting research to support remains recovery work. Three months following this meeting, DPMO and the ROK MND signed an MOU that provided for mutual support in conducting remains recovery work in South Korea. For the ROK Government, this was highly beneficial because they were embarking on a renewed effort to recover their own men missing from the Korean War.
In early June, RA staff provided support in the DPMO high-level talks with the North Koreans on the POW/MIA program for North Korea. We shared in-house expertise on proposed burial sites and assisted in developing the Memorandum of Agreement for the five JROs. RA NEA analysts also traveled to China and North Korea with the DASD in September, having developed the questions and led the interviews of four PLA veterans from the war, the first ever event of its type. Both sides were highly encouraged by the cordiality of this first session. Also during this high level visit to the PeopleÕs Republic of China (PRC), we submitted a Cold War case inquiry (12 individuals MIA) and a Korean War case inquiry (1 missing pilot) requesting the Chinese conduct further research.
Joint Research for the JROs. During the year considerable research was accomplished on the battles and losses involving the Chongchon and Kuryong River areas in North Korea, as these areas were chosen for the JRO program for 2000. Research included battle reports from local archives at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), veteransÕ interviews of the 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Cavalry, and 2nd Infantry Divisions, and study of the government and commercial works of military historians. DPMO shared this data with CILHI and was used in their search packets. DPMO and CILHI reviewed and updated the data before the JROs started in June while in Beijing and also in August at a joint review in Hawaii. We also provided the data to the JRO 1 Team Leader while at the field site in North Korea. This data was also provided to the North Koreans to guide them in their own search efforts on locating area witnesses in these battle zones. A total of 65 remains of American war dead were recovered this year. Another two recoveries were made in South Korean search efforts.
Analysis on North Korean Unilateral Returns. In August, we provided CILHI the results of our analysis of potential POW/Body Not Recovered and MIA/BNR populations represented by the remains turned-over by the North Koreans to the United NationÕs Command (UNC) between 1990 and 1994. Potential populations were developed on Pyoktong, Suan, Yongbyon and Chosin areas. Included in our data research was the Joint Commission Support DirectorateÕs (JCSD) analysis of air incidences described in records that came out of the Russian military archives at Podolsk. We noted that one of the incidents annotated in the Russian records correlates to one of the remains returned by the North Koreans.
Support to Family Outreach. At least one RA representative attended all 11 monthly family and veteran updates this year, including the annual organization meetings in Washington, D.C., in July. We assisted the service casualty offices with individual, family discussions. We produced 263 Korea and three World War II summaries of loss reports for the next-of-kin so that each would know the extent of the U.S. government knowledge of their family memberÕs loss incident. In addition, analysts researched and responded to 250 letters received this year from family members, concerned citizens, and Congress. At the family update in Pittsburgh, the family of a servicemember who is missing from World War II mentioned that they heard more information about their case during this family update than at any other time - going as far back as 1944.
DPMO produced the first ever short history of American servicemember accounting for the Korean War since the beginning of the Truce Talks 1951. Our report outlines the initial efforts of the UNC members of the Military Armistice Commission to get an accounting by the Communists for our missing, the POW debriefing program to determine what happened to those who did not come back, the remains exchanges in 1954 and 1990-1994, and the recent efforts of DPMO in the last five years with North Korea and China. This document is one of DPMOÕs outreach initiatives for the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War.
Other Production Activities. RA analysts wrote a section of the Special Projects and Archival Research (SPAR) Directorate document entitled, "POW Returnee Debriefing Records Research," a report and database on the effort to create a list of individuals the prisoners observed in the camp system. The document is based on overall still classified debriefing dossiers. We also assisted SPAR in cataloguing this data at Fort Meade onto a draft database.
POW Database. In addition to the aforementioned effort, our staff conducted a review of all prison camp populations, deaths, and burials to support the CILHI recovery effort. A database was developed for every known and suspected POW camp, death or march route burial, and the source of the information. This database is organized by camp and temporary holding point so that CILHI search teams eventually operating in those areas would know who they are looking for.
Other. In September, DPMO and CILHI developed pathways and procedures that allow DPMO to have virtual access to the CILHI case files. Now, all unaccounted-for servicemanÕs files from the Korean War can be accessed. The arrangement was through electronic mail. The procedure went through a month-long test; afterwards the DPMOÕs Information Systems (IS) personnel installed additional equipment to improve the ability to download and copy these files from the CILHI database.
The Research and Analysis directorateÕs Southeast Asia (SEA) division remains at the heart of DPMOÕs mission to account for the missing from the Vietnam War. Work accomplished by the division in 2000 reflects the groupÕs commitment to a wide range of activities that remain critical to the continued pursuit of that mission. As the premier repository for case-related information and the seat of institutional memory for the POW/MIA issue, much of the divisionÕs work this year has involved providing support for other offices. These include DPMO elements (policy, family support, and legislative affairs), the families, the Congress and the President. The high mark of achievement, nevertheless, remains the groupÕs commitment to case analysis.
Casualty Resolution. The divisionÕs primary focus in 2000 has been to refine research methodology and initiate new investigative techniques. This has been driven by the current state of case investigation, which has progressed to the point where almost all obvious leads have been pursued, and only the most difficult leads and the most difficult cases remain.
Together with JTF-FA counterparts, RA SEA has worked this year to overhaul the lead identification process, beginning with case coordination. Case coordination sessions with the JTF were held in March, May, and September and investigative steps for nearly 600 cases were discussed. For the first time, representatives of CILHI and Stony Beach were invited to participate. The presence of all players at the same table encourages a more comprehensive discussion of cases.
Division analysts continued to support priority investigations of the LKA cases. Leads were identified for investigation by both joint Research and Investigation Teams (RIT) and Vietnamese unilateral teams. On two occasions, analysts met with their VNOSMP counterparts to discuss the work Vietnamese teams had completed on LKA cases and to plan for future Vietnamese investigations. An LKA board, convened in March, confirmed the fate of 14 individuals.
Similarly, analysts worked to further the unilateral investigation process in Vietnam as well as Laos. Analysts prepared non-LKA case leads for Vietnamese investigation during two scheduled unilateral investigation periods and LKA case leads for investigation during three JFAs. An evaluation of Vietnamese work was presented to the Vietnamese in December when our analysts met with VNOSMP counterparts to discuss unilateral cases. In Laos, leads were prepared for the Lao to investigate during five scheduled unilateral investigation periods.
To develop new leads and to promote more efficient use of VietnamÕs limited investigation resources; the division initiated a long-term study to identify Vietnamese units associated with specific geographic areas during the war. The purpose of the study is to help the Vietnamese investigate in one outing, a number of cases in the same geographic area or for which the same Vietnamese units may have been involved. New order-of-battle databases based on information gained from Vietnamese witnesses and published Vietnamese language sources are currently under development to support the study.
As another example of the divisionÕs commitment to developing new leads, more resources were devoted in 2000 to exploiting both U.S. archival holdings and veterans than in any previous year. Analysts visited a number of national record repositories on a weekly basis, and sought to meet with veterans at forums such as wartime unit reunions.
SEA analysts additionally studied the impact of proposed Vietnamese highway and dam construction on case investigation, ensuring that all work at sites likely to be affected was completed prior to planned construction. We also supported work by a joint JTF-FA-VNOSMP "technical assessment team" that visited a number of sites in Vietnam that involve technically difficult recoveries. This team was able to identify strategies that will permit excavation of these very challenging sites. RA SEA analysts contributed to technical talks and consultative talk agendas. They also represented DPMO at the JTFÕs operations retrospective briefing for the VNOSMP, numerous technical talks meetings with the Vietnamese, Lao consultative talks, and the Lao operations assessment meeting. Finally, one analyst was appointed to chair a tiger team and to work with a special working group formed to address an MIA case from the Gulf War. Two additional analysts were later assigned to assist her.
Support for the Families. We provided case background information for all DPMO regional family updates this year. In June a team of RA analysts briefed the annual meeting of the National League of Families and participated in a subsequent question and answer session. Throughout the year, our SEA staff responded to specific family requests for case-related information, and as a result of analytical decisions to place a number of cases in the No Further Pursuit (NFP) category, RA SEA authored letters to the families notifying them of the status change.
Support for the Congress. RA SEA was called upon on several occasions in the course of the year to respond to congressional queries. A RA SEA analyst briefed members on a number of occasions on the Gulf War MIA case. In July, in anticipation of an upcoming vote in the House on approving the PresidentÕs waiver of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, RA SEA briefed Congressman McNulty (D-NY) on Vietnamese cooperation on the MIA issue. In October, the division was called upon to brief Senator Smith (R-NH) on a hearsay live sighting report. In November and early December, the division will brief Senator Smith once again on a number of other Southeast Asian live sighting reports.
Support for the PresidentÕs Visit to Vietnam. The Southeast Asia Division provided critical assistance to White House planning for President ClintonÕs historic November 2000 visit to Vietnam. RA SEA assisted policy in preparing a briefing for the NSC and wrote a point paper for the President on Vietnamese cooperation. The division was responsible for pulling together for the White House summaries of six possible excavation sites the President could visit. An LKA background paper was prepared for the White House, and input was provided for the PresidentÕs remarks. In addition, the NSC received assistance in responding to correspondence from members of the Senate interested in the PresidentÕs visit. Finally two members of the division will accompany the DASD to Vietnam in support of the PresidentÕs trip.
Direct Support for the DASD. In the course of the year, the division was called upon to provide direct support for the DASDÕs activities. Input was provided for his remarks to the National League of Families during the LeagueÕs annual meeting in June, as well as talking points for his meetings with VietnamÕs Ambassador to the U.S. RA SEA analysts assisted the DASD in planning for the Lao Deputy Foreign MinisterÕs visit to DPMO and participated in briefings to inform him of current events in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam in preparation for his trips to Southeast Asia. A member of the division accompanied him on each of his trips to the region.
The Presidents of the United States and Russia established the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs in 1992. Major General Roland Lajoie, USA (Ret), was appointed by President Clinton in December 1998 to succeed Ambassador Malcolm Toon as U.S. co-chairman. On the Russian side, President Yeltsin appointed General-Major Vladimir Zolotarev in January 1996 to succeed the late General-Colonel Dmitrii Volkogonov as Russian co-chairman. The Commission continues its efforts to acquire information on the fate of missing American and Russian servicemembers.
The Commission is composed of senior American and Russian executive and legislative branch officials and staff, who hold plenary sessions and working-level meetings to assess and coordinate policy and undertake research and investigative efforts aimed at clarifying the fates of missing American and Russian service members. To date, the Commission has held 17 plenary sessions (15 in Moscow and two in Washington, D.C.).
The work of the Commission has focused on three primary objectives. The first objective has been to determine whether any American POW/MIAs are still being held against their will on the territory of the former Soviet Union (FSU) and, if so, to secure their immediate release and repatriation. The Commission has investigated numerous reports of live Americans in the FSU and will continue to pursue any new information that arises. The second objective of the Commission has been to determine the fate of unaccounted-for members of the U.S. armed forces who were located on the territory of the former Soviet Union or about whom the Russian government may have information. The third objective has been to clarify facts pertaining to Soviet personnel missing from the war in Afghanistan, Cold War-era loss incidents, and World War II.
To facilitate its work, the Commission is organized into four working groups examining World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The World War II working group has conducted extensive historical research on the liberation and repatriation of American and Russian POWs at the end of the war. The Cold War working group has directed its efforts at resolving the fate of U.S. crewmen from ten specific incidents of U.S. aircraft lost on or near the territory of the former Soviet Union from 1950-1965. The Cold War working group has also undertaken extensive research on Soviet MIAs from the war in Afghanistan. The Korean War working group has helped clarify the losses of some 140 U.S. airmen shot down during the war and continues to investigate the facts concerning the possible transfer of U.S. POWs from the Korean theater of operations to the former Soviet Union. The Vietnam War working group seeks further information from Russian archives and Russian veterans of the Vietnam War about America's missing service members from that conflict. Another focus of the CommissionÕs work is Eastern Europe, where the Commission has endeavored to expand its archival research and interview programs. Some of the countries that have been visited are Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic.
WWII. This year, the Commission continued to make progress toward its objectives. In August, General Lajoie, Colonel Konstantin Golumbovskiy, the Russian deputy chairman, and Jim MacDougall of DPMO visited the newly discovered wreckage of a U.S. Navy PV-1 patrol bomber, missing with its crew of seven since March 25, 1944, at a crash site on the Russian far eastern peninsula of Kamchatka. Specialists from CILHI also participated in the trip. Fragments of remains presumed to be those of crewmembers were recovered, and additional remains are believed to be located at the site. CILHI has recommended that a full-scale recovery operation be mounted in the summer of 2001.
Cold War. Research in Russian archival repositories plays a central role in the work of the Commission. Efforts are currently under way to gain further access to Soviet-era Cold War-related documents. In that regard, JCSD has recently benefited from the research work of Rear Admiral (Retired) Boris Gavrilovich Novyy at the Central Archives of the Russian Navy at Gatchina. Admiral Novyy also has assisted the Commission in identifying and locating individuals with information about Cold War shoot down incidents. Through Admiral NovyyÕs research and contacts, the Cold War Working Group hopes to further its inquiry into a number of unresolved cases.
Korea. Interviews of important witnesses and participants in the Korean War have taken place. One such interview provided information from a former Soviet citizenÕs memoirs regarding the presence of Americans at a camp in the Krasnoyarsk area and elsewhere on Soviet territory in the late 1940Õs and early 1950Õs. The U.S. side presented information from these memoirs to the Russian side as part of a larger study. This indicated other locations in the former Soviet Union where American service members were reported to have been seen. In an effort to substantiate such reporting, JCSD members traveled to the locations of former prison camps in the cities of Vorkuta and Inta, interviewed former camp (Gulag) officials, and appealed through the media for individuals with information on U.S. POWs to contact the Commission's Moscow office.
Since 1997, JCSD personnel have been reviewing records in the Russian Ministry of Defense's Central Archives at Podolsk. These records have provided a wealth of information on American aircraft downed in that conflict but are currently limited to the Korean War era.
Vietnam. An ongoing effort seeks to expand the CommissionÕs access at the Podolsk archives so as to include materials pertaining to the Vietnam War. Secretary of Defense William Cohen continues to request that the Russian Minister of Defense, Marshal Sergeyev, permit our archival search to encompass shoot-down and POW interrogation reports from the Vietnam War era as well.
Archival Research. The U.S. side believes there is more information to review in the archives at Podolsk that might contribute to the fullest possible accounting of missing service members from the Korean, Vietnam and Cold Wars. The Commission intends to continue to press for further access to the Podolsk archives.
Obtaining access to archives located in the former Soviet Union has always been a difficult and complex task for the Commission. This effort has paid off to a degree as limited access has been granted to the research facilities at Podolsk and Gatchina. The Commission will continue to pursue greater access to additional archival holdings at the Russian Ministry of Defense, the former KGB, the GRU, and the Border Guards.
In 1995, the Commission presented to President Clinton and President Yeltsin a joint report documenting its accomplishments. The Commission expects to publish early next year a follow-on report detailing the highlights of its work since 1995. The report will focus upon the CommissionÕs efforts to resolve the fate of missing American and Russian service members and will make recommendations and identify areas for future research.
The year has been a banner year for DPMOÕs effort to fulfill its responsibility to provide policy oversight for the personnel recovery function. DoD issued several key policy documents after almost 18 months of painstaking coordination with all the services, the combatant commands, the intelligence community, the personnel recovery community. The new policies will help preclude ad hoc planning and execution of personnel recovery functions by requiring effective organization, and proactive preparation and training for personnel recovery operations. These policies and instructions clearly define roles and responsibilities throughout the department encompassing all aspects of personnel recovery.
It will help to ensure their smooth transition back to U.S. control, placing their well-being ahead of all other concerns. The need for such an instruction became evident recently during Operation ALLIED FORCE in Kosovo when MilosovicÕs forces captured three American servicemen. Though the eventual repatriation of the three soldiers went well, there was much prior preparation that could have occurred that did not. Essentially, this instruction will ensure proactive planning for such activities rather than ad hoc and reactive conduct.
Writing policy is an essential element for attaining our goal of establishing a fully integrated personnel recovery architecture throughout DoD that ensures our ability to recover our personnel who become isolated in harmÕs way. Writing effective policy that supports the warfighter has been a consistent goal of DPMO since it assumed the recovery mission, and visits to the field continue to help ensure we are meeting their needs. The DASD and members of the DPMO staff have visited the combatant commands and others in the personnel recovery community extensively in order to hear firsthand their concerns and the challenges they face in personnel recovery. We have observed Exercises FOAL EAGLE and ULCHI FOCUS LENS (Korea); COBRA GOLD (Thailand); NORTHERN EDGE and COPE THUNDER (Alaska); THUNDER RECOVERY (Fort Campbell); DESERT RESCUE (NAS Fallon); and a UARM exercise in Kuwait. The DASD has personally visited all of the service schools that prepare our servicemen and women to survive isolation, evade enemy capture, resist interrogation, and escape if captured. He has seen firsthand combat search and rescue (CSAR) training at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, Fallon Naval Air Station; and Marine recovery operations known as Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) at NAS North Island. The DASD also continues to maintain DPMOÕs close relationship with the U.S. Army Special Warfare Center, Fort Bragg, NC; Air Force Special Operations Command; and U.S. Special Operations Command.
DPMO has established itself as a leader in the personnel recovery community. Visits to the field by the DASD and members of the DPMO staff as well as advocating the priorities of the combatant commanders (e.g., Combat Survivor/Evader Locator System (CSEL) acceleration, personnel recovery points of contact on Service Staffs, etc.) have established DPMO as an office to ensure policies support the warfighter. When DPMO first assumed personnel recovery responsibilities, we had to insert ourselves into various processes, events, and conferences. Now we are invited to participate in theater personnel recovery activities (e.g., combatant command Personnel Recovery Conferences and joint exercises, U.S./Vietnam Search and Rescue conference, etc.) and included in key document coordination meetings (National Security Strategy, Prioritized Regional Objectives, Defense Planning Guidance, Contingency Planning Guidance, Theater Engagement Plans, etc.).
DPMO also serves as the OSD "advocate" for personnel recovery matters, establishing priorities, identifying opportunities, and encouraging others to place greater emphasis on improving and exercising our recovery capability. We do this in part by advocating advanced technologies applicable to the personnel recovery missions. In 2000, we were very active promoting emerging technologies and protecting funding for two such systems that will improve our ability to locate isolated personnel - the CSEL and the Global Personnel Recovery System (GPRS). One of our long-standing objectives is to take the "search out" of Combat Search and Rescue. Rapid identification of an isolated personÕs location significantly improves the chances for a successful recovery. Both CSEL and GPRS can help us achieve that objective.
In early 2000, DPMO worked with the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Advanced Systems and Concepts (DUSD(AS&C)) to accelerate fielding of the CSEL, an effort that proved difficult due to software requirements levied against the system. DPMO worked with OASD(C3I) and OUSD(AT&L) through ODUSD(AS&C) to split the acquisition process into two blocks. This action enabled the CSEL program office to move forward on the hardware aspects of the system while the time consuming software development continues. The Block 1 version of CSEL will have all the Block 2 hardware capabilities. When the software development is complete the Block 1 system will be upgraded to Block 2 using software only, much the same as one would upgrade computer operating system software (e.g., Windows 95 to Windows 98 or Mac OS 8 to Mac OS 9). CSEL is projected to be operational in 2003.
DPMO has monitored closely the progress of the CSEL system and has been a strong advocate for accelerated fielding. The most critical, and often the most difficult, phases of any recovery operation are the tasks of reporting the incident and locating the survivor. Without an adequate system to aid in accomplishing these two tasks, we run the risk of losing one of our service personnel to a hostile government. The DASD has expressed great concern about the delayed production schedule, high cost, and complexity of the CSEL. DPMOs advocacy has raised the level of interest in this critical system and, in fact, has been instrumental in getting the program off center. The DASD championed a POM issue, approved by the USD(P), to restore funds for Block 2 software development and to ensure economic production quantities are achieved to reduce per unit cost.
DPMO also supported the GPRS as the next generation of identification and tracking capability for isolated personnel. It is an "engine" that we can integrate into line-of-sight devices to provide two-way over-the-horizon data communications. The GPRS is projected to include a retransmission package on each of the global positioning system satellites to allow global coverage and increase system over-the-horizon data transmission capacity by three orders of magnitude when compared to CSEL. The DASD recommended to DCINCSOCOM that he receive a briefing on GPRS. DCINCSOCOM was impressed that unlike proposed Blue Force Tracking systems GPRS was a two-way system. He recommended the GPRS be included in the Blue Force Tracking briefing to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC). Additionally, the DASD sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget identifying NASA funding as critical to developing GPRS. The DASD invited all PRAG members to see a GPRS demonstration using a prototype device and commercial satellites. The demonstration was a resounding success and clearly demonstrated the GPRSÕs ability to communicate with and track both the isolated person and the recovery force over-the-horizon.
This year has also seen two very important policy-level studies that give DPMO an independent examination of how it and DoD accomplish their recovery mission. In order to more effectively conduct recovery operations, DPMO has instituted two major studies.
This year the Family Support Team (FST) continued its assistance to the families of POW/MIAs. We worked their personal issues, helped clear up uncertainties on individual cases, and improved our overall outreach efforts. This year we accomplished much to improve access to open, clear, and credible information on all our missing servicemembers.
For us, families come first and we exist solely to address their concerns on our accounting efforts. We work closely with our Public Affairs and Legislative Affairs sections to highlight accounting initiatives. To date, more than 6,000 pamphlets on personnel recovery and accounting efforts have been sent to the American public, members of Congress, and the families of our missing. This 52-page pamphlet clearly states where we have been, where we are now, and where we hope to go in achieving the "Fullest Possible Accounting." Compiled from the many pages of facts we provide on our Internet site, it helps to clear up uncertainties on our general accounting efforts.
Each service casualty office works with us in gaining family member access to a number of high-level functions. At the Memorial and Veterans Day ceremonies this year, MIA family members were given the opportunity to meet and shake hands with the President. Afterward at Arlington National Cemetery, as invited guests of the White House, they witnessed the PresidentÕs speech, as he stressed the plight of family members and our ongoing POW/MIA accounting effort. Those remarks help greatly to reinforce public awareness of our commitment to the "Fullest Possible Accounting."
Family Support maintains daily contact for DPMO with all the services and the Department of State casualty offices. This ensures mutual understanding and unity of purpose on all POW/MIA issues.
Family Support chaired two DoD Joint Casualty Affairs Conferences this year. These conferences help all of the organizations that work the POW/MIA issue understand DoD policy providing clear, consistent and credible information to our constituents.
This year we sent a letter to each State Director for Veteran Affairs in an effort to assist the service casualty offices with their outreach efforts. Included with this letter was a roster of that stateÕs missing servicemen for whom we have had no family contact. This action reinforces the robust outreach efforts already undertaken by each service in trying to locate a primary next-of-kin (PNOK).
We wrote more than 1,000 letters to family members this year. They included answers to inquiries, and the passing of newly found documents and information. Our response times were prompt. Specific inquiries were answered with as detailed and up-to-date facts available to us.
Families enjoyed our "Family Update" program as in past years. The concept is to inform the greatest numbers of families as efficiently and economically as possible. The FST organized ten meetings at different sites all over the country. The updates offer familiesÕ personal attention and direct access to a team of specialists who speak on the POW/MIA issue. This year, as a result of our program, we reached more than 700 family members with facts on government operations in Southeast Asia, North Korea and in other areas around the world. During these meetings experts present information on the latest technologies used to identify remains, including mitochondrial DNA. Archival research and other topics are also discussed. The families are afforded the opportunity to ask questions and review details of their own case privately at the end of the day.
In October FST launched a pilot education program for families new to the POW/MIA issue. This orientation session is designed to familiarize new families with the government agencies that work the POW/MIA issue, the communication plan for families, research methods used for acquiring pertinent records, and the bereavement process as it relates to families of the unaccounted-for. The hour-long program was lauded as a huge success and as been integrated into the Family Update program.
We also host annual government briefings in Washington, D.C. In June, officials from every element of the POW/MIA accounting team presented briefings to hundreds of family members and concerned citizens. The Vietnam War briefings took place at the 31st Annual Meeting of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia. There we addressed the interests of over 200 family members. We also conducted annual briefings for over 150 family members of the Cold War and Korean War missing. DPMO; the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL); CILHI; JTF-FA; and the casualty offices of the Air Force, the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Department of State were all represented. Presenters at these annual meetings ranged from senior policy officials to analysts and scientists.
Finally, we mailed scores of case files to the PNOK from the Cold War, Korean War, and Vietnam War. DPMO also hosted several case file reviews for family members here in our office. These family members reviewed their respective missing personÕs case file and met with government officials to resolve uncertainties and illuminate facts in an open and personal manner.
The year 2000 proved that Congressional and public interest remains high regarding the POW/MIA issue. The Legislative Affairs and Concerned Citizen (LC) section received more than 1,800 written and telephonic inquiries regarding the POW/MIA issue. Questions ranged from requests for general information to specific cases; approximately 63% were related to the Vietnam War. Interest also remained high for Korean War and World War II issues. Congressional referrals of citizensÕ inquiries constituted more than half of the total received by DPMO, while inquiries sent to the White House and those sent directly to us were equally divided between the remaining 50 percent. Regardless of the source of the request, we consistently provided current information to our constituents in a timely manner.
DPMOs successful information dissemination program to Capitol Hill, initiated in 1998 at the direction of DASD Jones, continued to grow this year. A significant factor in the programÕs success was Mr. Joneses visits with members of Congress and committee key staff members. This outreach program added a successful personal touch and ensured the appropriate staffs and members were updated on all our accounting and recovery activities. The visitation program enabled DoD accounting and recovery activities to be provided in a timely detailed format to the members and key committee staff. In many instances, it served to provide advance knowledge of sensitive issues, allaying many potential concerns and gaining acceptance and support based on the trust that was built between DPMO and Capitol Hill.
At the request of the Department of State and U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, Douglas "Pete" Peterson, current assessments of Vietnamese cooperation on POW/MIA accounting efforts and other pertinent information were provided to members and staff of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade.
Substantive briefings to congressional and staff delegations visiting countries in which DPMO conducts accounting activities assisted the delegations in achieving greater insight and understanding into the emotionally charged humanitarian issues associated with accounting in the countries to which the groups traveled. This information was used by the congressional delegations to reinforce our accounting goals with foreign governments.
LC continued to provide written information papers to and personal interface with members and staff on accounting and personnel recovery issues that aided in their ability to recognize DPMO as the single United States government source of expertise on these issues. As the information source on all POW/MIA accounting and personnel recovery issues, members and staff were often being referred to DPMO by other congressional offices for current information regarding these issues.
The commitment of the USG to seek the fullest possible accounting for missing service members from all conflicts is a national policy of the first priority.
That commitment is a promise to its citizens that the government will expend every effort in this humanitarian mission, and that its citizens will be kept informed on the progress. This has been the commitment of DPMO since its creation in 1993.
One aspect of the work to uphold the commitment is to ensure that all of the various constituencies in this issue (families, Congress, active duty military, veterans, general public, news media) have full and free access to the governmentÕs work. Therefore, a significant outreach effort carries that information directly to the media - national, international and local - and to veterans, their leadership and their organizations.
Media and Families. Over the past several years, DPMO has established itself among the media community as credible and responsive. As a result, we see a continuing stream of high-visibility, positive stories flowing to the American public. Its work has twice been featured in ReadersÕ Digest. DPMO initiated coverage on ABCÕs 20/20, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, and each of the major national television networks. Our professional relationship with USA Today, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and the Knight-Ridder News Service - among many others - generates story after story on the work done by the U.S. government to account for missing Americans.
The impact of these national-level stories is directly related to DPMOÕs efforts to ensure that families of our missing are fully informed. For example, on two occasions in the last several years, we have enlisted the support of USA Today and the Associated Press in carrying stories to help locate family members of specific World War II crashes. In both cases, its professional relationship with those media facilitated quick and thorough coverage, which ultimately led to the governmentÕs locating the families of these World War II aircrews. The Associated Press story generated interest at ABCÕs 20/20, which resulted in a yearlong effort and an hour-long show. It also resulted in similar coverage on the Discovery Channel.
DPMOÕs work with the Wall Street Journal illustrates the interest in the POW/MIA issue by journalists. The JournalÕs Moscow bureau chief worked with DPMO, and its investigative/research staff attached to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, on a story, which grew out of DPMOÕs research into Russian archives on the Korean War. Our researchers found Russian documents, which clarified the fate of an American pilot missing in action from that war. DPMO assisted the Journal in locating the surviving son of the Korean War pilot, and saw the true benefit with a front-page story in that paper. As a result of that story, DPMO did follow-on stories with the BBC, and with other competing media outlets.
DPMOÕs work with the local media is equally important as it keeps families, their hometown neighbors, and their congressional representatives, informed on the worldwide work being done. Hometown newspapers are particularly interested in full coverage when service members from their readership areas are accounted-for. With full respect for familiesÕ privacy, our staff works directly with the next-of-kin in assisting local news media, which cover the story. We ensure that local media stories are crafted with sensitivity and with respect for the sacrifices of the local serviceman. The USGÕs credibility is also enhanced when local readers see the results of dedicated people carrying out this humanitarian mission for the benefit of servicemen who have made the supreme sacrifice.
The Internet. DPMO continues to capitalize on the burgeoning power and access of the Internet. With a meager beginning, DPMO went "on-line" in 1996, and quickly saw upwards of 2,000 weekly "hits," or individual requests for files. Our concept was to make available general and specific information that would serve the needs of both serious researchers as well as those with only a passing interest in this issue. As a result of the learning generated during four years of operations, we improved the content and attractiveness of the web site, and have seen as many as 152,000 "hits" per week during peak periods. We also track the general groupings of requestors who visit the site (foreign countries, academics, military, civilian, etc.) and find a steady growth in every category. We also see an increasing use of our web site by the news media, who have confirmed that they value the credibility of the governmentÕs information, when compared to some of the other privately-generated information from other sites.
Outreach to Veterans. Another aspect of DPMOÕs public affairs outreach is that of direct contact with and support of veterans and VSOs. We maintain regular contact with the leadership of all the major organizations, and are invited to make presentations at all of their national and regional plenaries. Each of these appearances generates additional interest at the state and local levels, and DPMO finds the invitations for public speaking engagements growing well beyond its early expectations. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs Bob Jones meets with the national leadership at least three times yearly, and has spoken to all of their national conventions. Additionally, at the request of national and local groups, DPMO mails out thousands of copies of pamphlets and other literature to meet the interest and demand of veterans across the country.
In conjunction with the Family Updates across the country, we continued to conduct Veterans Updates to maintain an open dialog of information, down to the local level, about our work to account for missing Americans.
Special Events. "Special events" also play an important role in DPMOÕs outreach. For example, each year, DPMO leads the planning effort for National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The centerpiece of the observance in Washington this year was the Pentagon ceremony, hosted by the Deputy Secretary of Defense and featuring as keynote speaker Mr. Gene Smith, former POW from the Vietnam War. With the legislated flying of the somber, black POW flag of the National League of Families, this event is recognized in many cities across the country. In response to demands by media, veterans and families, we created a special section within our Internet web site which offers background and visual material to assist local military and civilian planners with their ceremonies.
Our work with the White House this year was particularly beneficial in seeking wider visibility of the national commitment to the fullest possible accounting. On three separate occasions, working directly with presidential speech writers, we were gratified to see President Clinton reaffirm the national commitment, and praise the men and women of the U.S. government today who are dedicated to the accounting mission. His speeches before the Korean War Memorial, Memorial Day and Veterans Day brought increased media and family interest, which in turn helped inform our constituencies about our worldwide mission.
Public Outreach, The Future. All of the agencies involved in this mission will continue their aggressive outreach efforts. This agency will continue to improve its availability to the public through the Internet web site, and will create special channels whereby the missions of JTF-FA, CILHI, AFDIL and the U.S. Air Force Life Science Equipment Laboratory may be explained in easily understood terms. The Internet appears to be a tool with powerful communications potential that many have not yet understood, and DPMO intends to exploit it.
The Special Projects/Archival Research (SPAR) Directorate of DPMO oversees all archival research efforts for all wars in which the U.S. has participated. SPAR closely coordinates its efforts with other DPMO directorates, especially the Research and Analysis (RA) and Joint Commission Support (JCSD) Directorates, to identify archival facilities to be visited and specific types of information to be collected.
Archival research is conducted by DPMO in order to retrieve evidence concerning the circumstances of loss on servicemen missing in action for nearly 50 years beginning with World War II (WWII) and continuing to the present. Casualty analysts and mortuary specialists conducting field operations use information gathered from historical records, repositories, libraries, and special collections. In addition, information gathered from archival facilities is copied and sent to the National Archives (NARA) or Library of Congress where the material becomes part of special collections and is accessible for public research.
Since the mid-1990Õs, when the Congress appropriated $1,000,000 of the FY 1995 Defense Budget towards locating Korean War records, DPMO has continued a worldwide program for information that could lead to the fullest possible accounting of U.S. servicemen and selected civilians still missing. Under the aegis of the Congress, and with congressional mandate, DPMO archival researchers have located more than 400 libraries, archives, and special collections in some 20 foreign repositories and more than 100 domestic archival facilities that could hold information concerning our nationÕs unaccounted-for personnel.
During the last few years, we have been successful in reviewing records in Hanoi, Vientiane, Phnom Penh, Canberra, Seoul, Pyongyang, Geneva, and London, as well as in U.S. archival collections. In mid-2000, additional foreign archival research was conducted at the 900-year old Public Records Office (PRO), Kew Gardens, in London. The initial information found in the PRO suggests that there are possible archival leads concerning Americans missing from Korea that is contained in the debriefs of returnee British POWs. Classified records at the PRO were unavailable but could also yield significant information for DPMO. Contact has already been made with the UK Defense Attach - to obtain access to these classified records.
At the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva, lists of Americans were found that correlate to information recorded in OPERATION BIG SWITCH and OPERATION LITTLE SWITCH from the Korean War. In addition, there are also lists of American POWs from WWII and the Vietnam War. Classified records could also yield significant information about unaccounted-for Americans and DPMO has requested access to these classified reports during our next visit to the ICRC.
Archival research continued in domestic archives, repositories, and special collections during 2000. Five man-weeks were spent at the Federal Records Center in St. Louis reviewing more than 100 microfilms and copying Army Morning Reports and Army Hospital Morning Reports from the November-December 1950 period of the Korean War era. DPMO archivists obtained more than 3,000 pages of records in an effort to corroborate already existing databases. As a result, some personnel cases have already been further documented while several others have been removed from the unaccounted-for list.
In the Washington area, the National Archives, Archives II (NARA) continues to offer a plethora of records, personnel files, orders of battle, and enemy accounting from the battles in which the U.S. was engaged. For example, in mid-November, SPAR archivists found more than 500 pages of documents dealing with lists of enemy prisoners from the Vietnam War who had been medically cared for by U.S. medical personnel. The DASD presented more than 700 names of North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong personnel to the President prior to his trip to Vietnam in November. The President, in turn, gave these lists to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) for their use in finding information about their unaccounted-for personnel from the war era.
In another dramatic archival discovery at Archives II, DPMO archivists found documents concerning the Marine Makin RaidersÕ mission of mid-1942 when nine Marines were taken POW by the Japanese Imperial Navy on Makin Atoll in the Pacific. They were then taken to Kwajalein Island and executed. DPMO archivists found the documents concerning the trial and conviction of senior Japanese naval officers as well as maps and supporting data documents concerning the burial of the nine Marines. All of these archival materials were sent to CILHI for their action regarding exhumation and repatriation of the nine Marines.
Another significant special archival research project, developed by SPAR personnel, is entitled "The Korean War Aircraft Loss Database" (KORWALD). This database contains over 3,400 loss incidents of USAF, USN, and USMC aircraft losses. It also contains information on aircraft type and tail number, date of loss, circumstances of loss, status of crew, crash location, and the blood chit number, if available. The data is cross-referenced to over 800 hard-copy field search case files that contain detailed circumstances of loss of our aircrews. No complete record of Korean War aircraft losses has existed prior to the compilation of this database. Analysts can electronically search the database and then refer to the hard-copy field search cases for details on specific losses. This document will be a significant research tool for analysts, historians, researchers, and academicians.
Additional archival research by SPAR personnel has led to the creation of a database on Korean War POW returnee debriefings. These debriefings contain information on loss incidents, POW physical status, movements and location after capture, POW camp descriptions, reports of death, and possible burial sites, contributing directly to field search cases. The database now contains information from over 3,600 briefs, with over 64,000 sighting reports. Although most of the debriefings are from Army personnel, USAF, USN, and USMC debriefings are also included in the database that will eventually be placed on the DPMO web site. In FY 2000, as in previous years, more than 40 reservists augmented the SPAR archival research team in reviewing these Korean War debriefings and entering the data into an already existing DPMO database. This team of Army and Navy reservists spent more than eight man-months reviewing an estimated 1.8 million pages of documents, and entering the data into a large database. In this year alone, SPAR reviewed over 1,000 debriefings, cataloguing over 30,000 sighting reports. SPAR researchers and reserve personnel have also copied over 20,000 pages of information, including more than 15,000 Army Forms 545 (Reports of Death) for inclusion into the DPMO Korean War debriefings database.
Finally, once again in support of the PresidentÕs trip to Vietnam in November 2000, DPMO archivists obtained an additional 24 CDs from the USMC History and Museum Division of Headquarters, USMC. The CDs contain more than 350,000 digitized pages (15,000 pages per CD) of documents from the war in Southeast Asia. These documents include mission reports from squadrons, situation reports, and operational messages of that historical period. These 24 CDs represent the second installment of USMC digitized records from the Vietnam War given to the Vietnamese since August 1999 when the DASD handed over 45 CDs to the SRV. The final 81 CDs, of the 150, are to be completed by the USMC by the end of 2000 and will be sent to the Vietnamese when finished. The total number of pages in these 150 CDs number 1.2 million.
The Declassification and Freedom of Information Act Division (DF) focused its efforts in several new and long term continuing projects during this year. The McCain Bill remains the prime directive for declassification efforts within DPMO. The statute continues to be the driving force behind declassification and review of documents containing information pertaining to unaccounted-for personnel for release to family members and to the general public. The broad declassification of government documents is implemented in compliance with the provisions of the more recent Executive Order (EO) 12958. The McCain Bill has led the way for DPMO to coincidently conform to EO objectives for automatic and systematic declassification. Under the McCain Bill, DF continues to process documents, old and contemporary, for public release so that families and the American public are informed about the activities and successes of recovery efforts and identification of remains of previously unaccounted-for service members. The McCain Bill implementing process stresses the release of information while ensuring the privacy and dignity of unaccounted-for personnel and returnees.
In support of the DF mission, a contractor is developing an electronic declassification and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) redaction system. The software was placed on DF computers in May. The system has since undergone an extensive test and evaluation and DF personnel have been trained in the systemÕs operation. In September, DF personnel began using the new software to its fullest capacity, implementing all design phases of the process. Experience in using the new system has shown an increase in productivity with savings in time and materials. Recent add-on functions enable the FOIA Branch to process not only FOIA requests, but also requests for mandatory declassification reviews, security reviews, and referrals made to DPMO by other government agencies and departments. An updated version of the electronic redaction system was released in December. The system also gives DF other benefits. For example, it enables DF to electronically transmit declassified/redacted documents to the Library of Congress (LoC) where approximately 894,000 pages of POW/MIA material reside in the Vietnam POW/MIA Database for public access. This year approximately 18,000 pages of processed documents have been added to LoC collection, and over 143,000 accessions were made to the LoC POW/MIA Database.
In another new effort, DF is teamed with the LoC to reconfigure the Vietnam POW/MIA Database. This project is designed to provide a more user-friendly accessibility to stored documents by families and the public. The intent is to provide direct access to documents in the LoC Database, which is not possible under the current Database construct. An experimental website previewing the new capability was successfully tested in September and October. In early 2001, we expect that the LoC Vietnam POW/MIA Database will be built using electronically scanned microfilm and the website will be reconfigured.
Significant efforts have also been directed towards declassification and FOIA supporting a broad variety of requirements, from routine processing for activities supporting family updates to ad hoc requirements stemming from numerous diverse sources. The Declassification Branch has provided assistance and advice to the National Security Agency (NSA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in the review for declassification of Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs documents accumulated during its tenure. Recent efforts to complete this project indicate that NSA will complete its review in December and the CIA will complete its review next year. Declassification technicians are also assisting the National Security Council (NSC) and NARA in reviewing Vietnam-era documents accessioned by the NSC into the NARA. The Declassification Division, in conjunction with the CIA and the State Department, has reviewed for release to the U.S. Senate a Special National Intelligence Estimate, a Senate document entitled "Critical Assessment of the SNIE", and a joint DoD/CIA Inspector General Report. All told, DF has processed 142 requests for declassified material amounting to approximately 12,500 pages. Additionally, almost 8,400 pages of material have been released in response to 93 requests under FOIA, mandatory declassification and security reviews.
The Reference and Documents Division (RD) completed updating 100% of the Southeast Asia (SEA) casualty files. This time-intensive project has reaped significant benefits since both JCSD and Research and Analysis Directorate (RA) analysts now find it much easier to review only the relevant case-related materials. This process also provides the capability for DF to review and declassify the files in a structured and coherent manner, allowing DPMO to forward a complete file to the families of the unaccounted-for from SEA. Updating these files decreases the time necessary for file preparation when the scanning initiative begins. Priority has now shifted to updating all original files in preparation for contractor scanning.
The RD Division updated and published monthly statistics associated with SEA unaccounted-for individuals. These statistics are used by members of the DPMO staff and distributed to the service casualty offices, JTF-FA, CILHI, veteran and family organizations and key members of Congress.
The RD staff updated 39 files of SEA individuals whose remains were identified this year. These files will be declassified by DF and sent to the LoCÕs Vietnam-era POW/MIA collection in compliance with 50 USC ¤ 435 Note, "McCain Bill," and EO 12812.
Finally, RD coordinated the FY2001 MOU between the LoC and DPMO providing for the public access to declassified Vietnam-era materials.
RD's High Density Storage Area continues to hold a large number of uncataloged unique reference materials related to the Vietnam War. The Intelligence Technicians will index and catalogue these items in order to provide better support to DPMO's analytical effort. Projected completion date: September 2001.
RD is in the process of developing an INTRANET website that will display to all of DPMO some of the unique items maintained in the High Density Storage Area and on RD's shared drive. Some of these unique items include the Vietnam-era monthly statistics (which are disseminated to various military and civilian organizations), CILHI's monthly Remains Identification Letters, and the Joint Task Force's databases. Expected completion date is September 2001.
The Correspondence Management Team (CMT) is authorized of one civilian and two military personnel; one civilian and one non-commissioned officer are presently assigned. The mission of the CMT is to provide correspondence management and control for DPMO. The team receives and controls correspondence through two data base systems, assigning, monitoring, and clearing office of OSD and DPMO suspenses. The CMT team processed 1,520 suspenses and supported the DPMO administrative requirements with more than 580 courier runs to four mail centers in the Pentagon and other distribution points this year. The chronological files established for 2000 consist of 14 linear feet of correspondence to families, congressional members, veteransÕ organizations, researchers and concerned citizens. The team also constructed more than 240 daily read files for headquarters and DPMO-wide review. During this period the CMT team successfully retired Chronological, Congressional and POW/MIA affairs files from year 1990 thru 1995. The retirement of files consisted of 10 boxes or about 20 linear feet of records.
We support a staff of over 120 senior policy officers, analysts and casualty officers in DPMO with great enthusiasm and quality service. CMT serves as an administrative center point for the organization by controlling the daily flow of correspondence and provided administrative support for the Family Update in Knoxville, TN. The team also provided direct dissemination of more than 16,000 of this yearÕs National POW/MIA Recognition Day posters to DoD offices, Veterans groups, and other interested civilians.
The Resource Management (RM) Directorate assures the critical structure for DPMO to achieve successful mission execution. RMÕs technically proficient team of subject matter experts provide the crucial services that enable DPMO staff to focus on their day to day analytical responsibilities. This year, our main objectives were focused on recruiting and retaining high quality personnel, reaching out to constituents, supporting the U.S. Russia Joint Commission, and building a state of the art information technology management program.
Implementing a high-tech information management program was one of RMÕs greatest accomplishments. RM made great progress in a variety of Information Systems (IS) initiatives and led the way in implementing the first modern Redaction and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) systems application. This program enhances the sometimes-cumbersome redaction process and eliminates manual procedures to redact classified documents. Documents are electronically stored and managed which also complies with the national paperwork reduction initiatives and the DRI to improve processes. This new application process provides a great service to DPMO employees responsible for this critical function and to the public. DPMO now maintains the premiere application and provides guidance to other government agencies as they too work to implement mandatory redaction legislation and respond to the public through the FOIA system.
Providing information and assistance is a vital part of DPMOÕs outreach to the public and other government agencies concerned with POW/Missing Personnel accounting:
Case file management and improved accessibility to the public continue to be RM goals for the new fiscal year as we strive toward a comprehensive electronically facilitated data management program. The IS support team created a comprehensive military service glossary used to standardize data for the Vietnam and Korean War conflicts available to other government analysts. The team also facilitated the path to connectivity with the Central Identification Laboratory - HawaiiÕs database application. This cooperative initiative improves our analysts capabilities to share information in case resolution.
Moving toward the electronically dominated environment increases the need for improved security processes to protect equipment, data, and the integrity of the our mission. Information warfare and hacker attacks remain and are increasing throughout DoD. DPMO concentrated its efforts on issues related to information assurance and infrastructure protection as an integral part of the DoD issued guidance. The RM security team devoted countless hours to intercept viruses, protect and account for laptops, provide the latest security and information assurance training, and comply with the DoD security mandates. Security is an important aspect of any DoD office and DPMO is no exception. Led by the DASDÕs positive example and his attention to the importance of the issue, DPMO completed its second annual information security review free from any deficiencies. The RM security team works diligently each day to provide up to date security information to employees and design the most efficient program - including properly handling classified information, anti-terrorism threat briefings, and managing the sensitive compartmented information facility requirements.
One of the greatest resource challenges we face is the continued reduction in personnel mandated by the Quadrennial Defense Review and the Defense Reform Initiative (DRI). Maintaining a quality work force is a challenge to every organization in an era of diminishing resources; however, the personnel team was able to achieve significant successes that ultimately contribute to the DPMO mission. Facing 20 military vacancies out of 46 authorized positions in January 2000, the personnel team worked with the Washington Headquarters Services and the military services to get critical vacancies filled. The military services face similar personnel reductions that DPMO has and some are even more severe. Losing the Joint Duty Assignment (JDA) designation for some of these critical billets added to the challenge of filling them with top quality personnel. After a diligent eight-month process, the RM team was instrumental in obtaining the JDA designation for several of the critical vacancies. This improved our ability to get positions filled. DPMO as of this writing has 72% of its positions filled. We are relying on increased cooperation with the resource support staff in the Pentagon to provide the personnel assistance DPMO needs to achieve its mission.
Twenty-seven of the 46 military positions assigned to DPMO support the U.S.- Russia Joint Commission (USRJC). RM succeeded in a two-month effort to extend this authorization through FY 04 with the Deputy Secretary of Defense approval. In September, the Deputy Secretary of Defense specifically mentioned the important work of the Commission in his remarks during this yearÕs National POW/MIA Recognition Day that further reflects the critical function they perform. No stone will remain unturned in searching for answers regarding our missing service personnel. In addition to the personnel support for the commission, our RM team upgraded the computer equipment in the Moscow office that has improved their ability to store data, transmit translated materials, and conduct their research activities. The RM contracts administrator also facilitated six new contracts in support of the CommissionÕs mission in Moscow, Bulgaria and Poland. These contracts provide additional research and language translation services critical to fulfill the CommissionÕs important work.
In addition to the USRJC contract support, RM facilitated complex research contracts that help uncover new information about the administration and management of prisoner of war camps and POW cemeteries. This new information will assist in case resolution for family members of those missing from past conflicts. RM also manages interagency agreements and other contracts to support our web page management, translation services, microfilming, and access to government archival centers.
We continue to look for innovative ways to support our personnel outstanding substantive knowledge and technical skills: