DPMO Briefs Families
In June, the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia held their 43rd annual meeting in Crystal City, VA. During the three-day meeting, 186 family members, representing 97 cases of personnel missing from the Vietnam War, received briefings from senior officials and analysts from DPMO, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, the Department of State, each of the Military Services, the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, the Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Balkans Research Project
In May, DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, concluded a 4 1/2 month Balkans Research Project with an investigation in Croatia, Slovenia and, for the first time ever, Serbia. The results of this research include one case to present to the JPAC Excavation Decision Board, two possible exhumation requests, and additional information on one case that may involve one U.S. serviceman and the Slovenian Partisans with whom he fought and died. The DPMO/JPAC team also advanced other cases, and useful contacts were made in all countries especially Serbia, where DPMO believes several cases may be resolved in coming years.
In May, after years of requests, Vietnam turned over policy, strategic, and tactical level archival documents regarding unaccounted for Americans. While our analysts continue assessing the documents, we are encouraged by Vietnam's action and look forward to further progress. During Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's recent visit to Vietnam, Vietnamese officials announced they would open access to another three sites previously off limits to U.S. teams. This action, coupled with previous Vietnamese announcements removing sites from restricted lists, leaves a handful of sites still inaccessible to U.S. teams. We continue to seek access those sites.
Chinese Archives Agreement
From May 16-17, DPMO staff met with Chinese military archivists and signed a technical arrangement renewing cooperation for another three years on sharing information about American military personnel missing in conflicts in China. The U.S. negotiating team also included staff from the USPACOM Joint POW/MIA Command and personnel from the U.S. Embassy, Beijing. The Director of the PLA Archives Department reported that China's Ministry of National Defense considers the archival research arrangement to be the most successful component of the U.S.-China mil-to-mil program.