Pentagon Reorganizes Effort to ID MIAs right after NBC Information Series

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Monday a reorganization of the Pentagon’;s efforts to determine the remains of American services guys and girls from the nation’;s wars.

The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (acknowledged as JPAC), which has been the topic of a series of investigative reviews by NBC Information and other information organizations in the past yr, will be consolidated and reorganized below the assistant secretary of defense for particular operations/reduced-intensity conflict, Michael Lumpkin. Hagel explained that the change is intended to enhance the variety of identifications of stays, and supply much more details and aid for the families of the deceased.

“There’;s not a more important, emotional issue in our society these days,” Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon, “than you take care of the folks who gave their lives to this nation, and you consider care of their families. That is been a essential component of this country given that its founding.”

NBC Information reported on Oct. 10 that JPAC has been holding so-known as “arrival ceremonies” for 7 years, with an honor guard carrying flag-draped coffins off of a cargo plane as even though they held the stays of missing American support members returning that day from old battlefields. The ceremonies were known amongst some military employees as “The Massive Lie.”

After NBC Information raised inquiries, the Pentagon acknowledged that no honored dead were in truth arriving, and that the planes used in the ceremonies usually couldn’;t even fly but were “static aircraft” towed into position. The Pentagon mentioned the coffins, or transfer circumstances, did have real human remains that had “recently” arrived.

Image: A joint service honor guard escorts a transfer case during an Petty Officer 1st Class Barry Hirayama / US Navy

A joint services honor guard escorts a transfer case for the duration of an “arrival ceremony” at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu on April 27, 2012. The Defense Division has acknowledged that human stays were not in truth arriving on that day. The ceremonies are held by the Pentagon’;s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.

JPAC’;s mission is to return and recognize the 83,000 missing services guys and women from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

Underneath the changes announced Monday, Hagel said, JPAC will be mixed with its sister company, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Workplace (known as DPMO). These 2 agencies have usually butted heads. The new agency’;s laboratory work will be overseen by an Air Force lab, the Existence Sciences Gear Laboratory. The lab work identifying remains has been tightly managed by the JPAC Central Identification Laboratory at Pearl Harbor, with households of missing service men and women saying the lab did not share data, did not do any of its own DNA evaluation, and opposed disinterments of stays for identification.

NBC News also reported, in August, on delays by the Pentagon in identifying the dead from preceding wars, with requests for disinterments for DNA testing getting denied even when a match appeared specified. Many investigations of JPAC are under way, in Congress and within the Pentagon. An internal report known as the agency “acutely dysfunctional,” and a Government Accountability Office report said the effort to determine missing and unknown service males and women has been undermined by squabbling amongst agencies.

For much more information on the arrival ceremonies, and what occurs behind the scenes, see the NBC News report from Oct. 10.

YOU CAN Assist: Do you have documents or data about the Pentagon’;s hard work to recognize MIAs? Send to bill.dedman@nbcuni.com.

First published March 31 2014, 8:50 AM

Bill Dedman

Bill Dedman is an investigative reporter for NBC News, a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting, and a bestselling author.

Bill is usually searching for good investigative story ideas of national interest. Send him an e-mail with a description of your story idea, with paperwork and sources for far more study.

Bill stumbled onto the mystery of the reclusive heiress Huguette Clark, who was featured in a series of reviews on NBCNews.com and “Today.” The Clark series has been the most popular function ever on NBCNews.com, with far more than 110 million web page views. Bill has co-written a nonfiction guide about the Clark loved ones, “Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Paying of a Fantastic American Fortune.” The guide hit No. one on The New York Occasions bestseller checklist and was chosen amid the greatest books of 2013 by Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and other folks.

Bill obtained the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for “The Color of Funds,” a series of articles in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on racial discrimination by mortgage lenders in middle-revenue neighborhoods. Amongst other awards, in 2008 he obtained a national award for investigative reporting from the Society of Specialist Journalists for his content articles and video on firefighter deaths. In 2011 he acquired a Ideal in Organization award for investigative reporting from the Society of American Company Editors and Writers for his narrative on Huguette Clark and her family.

He joined NBCNews.com (then known as msnbc.com) in 2006, reporting and creating investigative stories for the internet site and NBC tv. He reviews to Michael Brunker, investigations editor for NBCNews.com.

For NBC Information he has uncovered stories on the Pentagon’;s efforts to recognize servicemen and women lost in past wars, fatal difficulties with firefighter security products, uninspected highway bridges, the Obama administration’;s visitor logs, coercive interrogations of detainees at Guantanamo, and approaches for discouraging school shootings. See an archive of his function, and also check out NBC News Investigations.

Bill received his commence in journalism at 16 as a copy boy at The Chattanooga Occasions. He has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe, and was the initial director of computer-assisted reporting for The Linked Press. He taught superior reporting component time at the University of Maryland, Northwestern University, and Boston University, and created the Electrical power Reporting site of research resources for journalists. He served for 6 years as a member of the board of directors of Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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