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Isle-based MIA command faces increased scrutiny

By Robert Burns

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:50 a.m. HST, Jul 10, 2013

The Pentagon said Tuesday it will take a "second look" at how a Hawaii-based command goes about accounting for missing Americans on foreign battlefields, after the disclosure of an internal assessment that the work is "acutely dysfunctional" and at risk of failure.

"We have a sacred obligation to perform this mission well," Pentagon press secretary George Little said, referring to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC, which is headquartered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Estimates indicate there are more than 83,000 Americans missing from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. JPAC has about 500 people and sends about 70 teams a year on identification and recovery missions to a dozen countries. Over the past three years, JPAC has reported an average of 69 identifications of remains per year, down from 85 per year over the previous three years.

A 2012 internal assessment of JPAC's field operations — including the search for, recovery and identification of remains — found it suffers from ineptitude, waste and mismanagement. JPAC leaders suppressed the study, but The Associated Press obtained a copy.

"We're going to review the concerns raised in the report to see how JPAC is or isn't functioning well," Little said. "And if steps need to be taken to remedy what's happening inside JPAC, then we'll take action. This is an important mission."

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said, "These soldiers fought on behalf of American families nationwide, and it is our duty to ensure that they return home. That is why I have requested a comprehensive briefing from (U.S. Pacific Command) and JPAC to determine the appropriate steps moving forward."

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hana­busa, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the revelations raise important issues.

"However, we need to remember that this is a year-old draft internal report and consider it in its proper context," she said. "JPAC's leadership has changed since the time of the report, so I think to the extent that the report spoke to questions of management, JPAC's current command should be given an opportunity to address their challenges."


Star-Advertiser reporter William Cole contributed to this report.

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kuroiwaj wrote:
Excellent. Pls make certain that the investigation results are made public in order for the public to regain the trust of JPAC that certain individuals with an agenda want to tear down.
on July 10,2013 | 07:49AM
Bensan wrote:
Great another investigation. There are on-going IG Investigations, GAO audits and a DOD whistle-blower reprisal investigation at this time. The report by Paul Cole should start an investigation of Paul Cole. He was not hired in J2 the historic investigation division of JPAC because of his lack of qualification, but was hired by the lab (CIL). One of his first assignment was to write an "efficiency report" on JPAC. He spends the better part of a year on the report and it was dis-avowed by General Tom the Commanding Officer of JPAC. They should investigate the results of the employee surveys, the number of EEO complaints, and Ethic Violations filed in JPAC. They should investigate the results of the PACOM IG investigation that discovered the inappropriate travel around the world by the senior managers. And they should investigate if the lab really did leave the remains of Americans in a garbage pit on Tarawa. This was all a part of an Ethics Violation complaint filed in JPAC.
on July 10,2013 | 02:34PM
Bensan wrote:
Another comment, they should investigate the reasons for the really bad employee feedback on the employee reviews. They should investigate the reasons JPAC paid hundreds of thousand dollars to settle EEO complaints in the past few years. They should investigate the reasons that the senior managers of the R&A division in JPAC are under investigation. They should investigate the conflict of interest in the hiring of consultants to work in the lab. And they should investigate the illegal hiring practices that include racial and gender discrimination. .
on July 10,2013 | 02:50PM
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