Laws and Directives
- 10 U.S. Code Sections 1501-1513, "Missing Service Personnel Act" - tasks DPMO with responsibility for policy, control and oversight of the entire process of investigation and recovery of missing persons (including matters related to search, rescue, escape and evasion) and for coordination between DoD and other U.S. agencies on all matters concerning missing persons. The Act also establishes procedures to be followed in making determinations regarding status of missing persons covered by the Act (i.e., active duty military personnel or DoD civilians and DoD contractors who directly support or accompany the armed forces in the field under orders).
- 37 U.S. Code Sections 551-559, "Missing Persons Act" - provides for pay, allowance and other financial benefits for military personnel in a missing status. Note: The procedures for review and determinations of missing status under Sections 556 and 557 of the Missing Persons Act do not apply to persons whose status has been determined under the Missing Service Personnel Act.
- DoD Directive 5110.10, "Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO)," September 21, 2005 -establishes the mission, organization, responsibilities, functions, relationships and authorities of the Director, DPMO.
- Section 576 of National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000, Pub. L. 106-65, Oct. 5, 1999, 113 Stat. 512, 624, "Recovery and Identification of Remains of Certain World War II Servicemen Lost in Pacific Theater of Operations" - expressly includes recovery of remains from Pacific Theater in World War II within scope of the DoD accounting mission. A 2009 amendment to Title 10, U.S. Code (Section 1509) now includes all missing persons from World War II within accounting mission.
- Bring Them Home Alive Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-484, Nov. 9, 2000, 114 Stat. 2195 (Codified at 8 U.S. Code 1157 note) - authorizes refugee status for any national (and certain members of his or her family) of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, China, or the independent states of the former Soviet Union who personally delivers into U.S. government custody a living American Vietnam War POW/MP (as defined in the Act). The Act also establishes a similar program for any national (and certain members of his or her family) of North Korea, China, or the independent states of the former Soviet Union who personally delivers into U.S. government custody a living American Korean War POW/MP (as defined in the Act).
- Persian Gulf War POW/MIA Accountability Act of 2002, Pub. L. 107-258, Oct. 29, 2002, 116 Stat.1738 (Codified at 8 U.S.C. 1157 note) - authorizes refugee status for any national (and certain members of his or her family) of Iraq or the Greater Middle East Region who personally delivers into U.S. government custody a living Persian Gulf War POW/MIA (as defined in the Act).
- Section 541 of National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, Pub. L. 111-84, Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2190, 2296, "Additional Requirements for Accounting for Members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense Civilian Employees Listed as Missing in Conflicts Occurring Before Enactment of New System for Accounting for Missing Persons" - substantially revised 10 U.S. Code Section 1509 to establish DoD obligations with respect to accounting for missing personnel from past conflicts beginning with World War II, including requiring the Secretary of Defense to provide sufficient funds, personnel and resources to ensure that, by Fiscal Year 2015, the Department, the Armed Forces, and the combatant commands have sufficient resources to ensure that at least 200 missing persons are accounted for each year.
- DoD Directive 2310.07E, "Personnel Accounting – Losses Due to Hostile Acts," November 10, 2003 - establishes DoD policy regarding the fullest possible accounting for persons in a missing status, and assigns specific responsibilities to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Affairs (DASD (POW/MPA) with respect to the entire process of accounting for such missing persons. Designates the DASD (POW/MPA) and the Director, DPMO, as the Offices of Primary Responsibility for personnel accounting.
- DoD Instruction 1300.18, "Department of Defense (DoD) Personnel Casualty Matters, Policies, and Procedures," January 8, 2008 (Incorporating Administrative Change 1, August 14, 2009) - implements DoD policies regarding reporting and recording casualties among DoD personnel, and notifying and assisting the next of kin of casualties. Also establishes DoD policy regarding the release of information concerning casualties (i.e., persons who are lost to his or her DoD organization by having been declared dead, duty status – whereabouts unknown (DUSTWUN), excused absence-whereabouts unknown (EAWUN), missing, ill, or injured.) Although reporting, recording, notifying and assisting are primarily functions of the military services, the Instruction assigns to DASD (POW/MPA) various related responsibilities, including centralized management of POW/MIA affairs within DoD, coordination with all DoD components regarding missing persons, policy oversight, and representation of DoD with other U.S. agencies, foreign governments and non-governmental organizations on all matters related to personnel recovery and accounting under the Missing Service Personnel Act.
- DoD Instruction 2310.05, "Accounting for Missing Persons – Boards of Inquiry," January 31, 2000 (Incorporating Administrative Change 1, March 14, 2008) - : implements all provisions of the Missing Service Personnel Act regarding personnel accounting, including establishing procedures for the boards of inquiry and case resolution processes mandated by the Act. Assigns to the DASD (POW/MPA) a broad range of personnel accounting responsibilities, including responsibility for centralized management of POW/MIA affairs, and to serve as Executive Agent for the Office of the Secretary of Defense to formulate policy, coordinate within DoD and with other agencies on matters related to persons covered by the Act, and to ensure compliance with the Instruction.
- DoD Instruction 3001.03, "Accounting for Personnel Lost in Past Conflicts – The Armed Forces Identification Review Board (AFIRB)", March 14, 2008 - implements policy and assigns responsibilities for reviewing challenges to identifications of remains recovered from past conflicts, including establishing procedures for boards to review such challenges. Assigns to DASD (POW/MPA) responsibility to establish policy for, and control and oversight over the remains identification process to ensure timely resolution of challenges to identifications by a central identification laboratory, including assigning a non-voting case analyst to advise identification review boards and to direct follow-on actions should a board remand an identification to a laboratory.
- Executive Order 10631, "Code of Conduct for Members of the Armed Forces of the United States", August 17, 1955, as amended – the code of conduct followed by all military members threatened with capture, or held captive, by hostile forces.
- DoD Directive 1300.7, "Training and Education to Support the Code of Conduct (CoC)", December 8, 2000 [under revision] – establishes DoD policy for ensuring DoD personnel fully understand the CoC and are trained and educated to support it. Designates DPMO as Office of Primary Responsibility for monitoring the adequacy, compliance and uniformity of the CoC training programs adopted by the military Services and serving as the central point of contact within the Office of Secretary of Defense for training and education to support the CoC. DPMO also provides policy guidance analogous to the CoC for civilian DoD personnel at risk of capture and exploitation by hostile forces.
- DoD Directive 3002.01, "Personnel Recovery in the Department of Defense", April 16, 2009 (Incorporating Change 1, April 4, 2013) – establishes policies and assigns responsibilities within the Department of Defense for personnel recovery. Expressly acknowledges as one of the Department of Defense’s highest priorities, the preservation of lives and well-being of DoD personnel who are in danger of becoming, or have become, beleaguered, besieged, captured, detained, interned, or otherwise missing or evading capture while participating in U.S.-sponsored activities or missions. Assigns to the DASD (POW/MPA) a wide range of responsibilities to further develop and implement this DoD policy.
- DoD Instruction 3003.01, "DoD Support to Civil Search and Rescue (SAR)", September 26, 2011 - establishes DoD policy to provide assistance to persons, ships, and aircraft in distress in accordance with U.S. and international law, and to support civil authorities conducting search and rescue ("Civil SAR") activities according to applicable national directives, plans, guidelines, and agreements. Assigns to the DASD (POW/MPA) broad responsibilities for oversight, representation, review, and coordination on behalf of DoD, including on an interagency basis and with foreign governments.
- DoD Instruction 3002.03, "DoD Personnel Recovery – Reintegration of Recovered Personnel", July 15, 2013 – establishes DoD policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedural guidelines for reintegrating DoD personnel (to include contractors) who have been returned alive following an isolating event. Assigns to the DASD (POW/MPA) broad responsibilities for reintegration and post-isolation support, strategy, and execution.
- DoD Instruction 1300.21, "Code of Conduct (CoC) Training and Education", January 8, 2001 [under revision] – implements DoD policy, assigns responsibilities and prescribes procedures to develop and execute CoC training for members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Assigns to DPMO the responsibility to review instructions for CoC training issued by the military Services to ensure they comply with the detailed guidance in the Instruction and to coordinate with the DoD General Counsel to ensure compliance with the policies of other U.S. agencies.
- DoD Instruction 1300.23, "Isolated Personnel Training for DoD Civilian and Contractors", August 20, 2003 [under revision] – implements policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures to prepare DoD civilians, DoD contractors, and other designated civilian personnel with the training necessary to copy with possible capture and return to U.S. control with honor. Tasks the DASD (POW/MPA) with responsibility for assisting, and coordinating with, other offices within DoD and other U.S. agencies, to ensure that civilian personnel and contactors receive appropriate training with respect to CoC-related matters, and to ensure such training is consistent with the policies of U.S. agencies and conforms with the Instruction.
- DoD Instruction 3002.04, "DoD Personnel Recovery – Non-conventional Assisted Recovery (NAR)", November 17, 2014 – This publication is not cleared for public release, and is only available to users with Common Access Card authorization.
- DoD Instruction 3115.10E, "Intelligence Support to Personnel Recovery", March 24, 2006 – delineates the responsibilities for the management of intelligence functions related to personnel recovery among various agencies and activities within the DoD, including DPMO. Tasks the Director, DPMO, with the responsibility to establish clear, direct and expeditious lines of communications with the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), or his designee, with respect to recovery related matters; to evaluate applicable policies, processes and programs and identify intelligence issues within DoD intelligence community; submit intelligence requirements to DIA for validating and coordinating within the DoD intelligence community; and maintain the capability to assume responsibility to account for personnel after cessation of operations by the applicable combatant commander.
- Joint Publication 3-50, “Personnel Recovery”, December 20, 2011 – This publication is only available to users with Common Access Card authorization.
- Memorandum, "Implementation of the Personnel Recovery Strategic Communication Guidance", March 4, 2008 (with "Personnel Recovery Strategic Communication Guidance" attached) – provides a foundation for coordinating DoD efforts before, during and after U.S., allied and coalition personnel, or private citizens, are illegally detained, held hostage, or otherwise isolated from friendly control. Establishes the Personnel Recovery Strategic Communication Working Group, which is responsible to the DASD (POW/MPA) and to the Joint Chiefs of Staff J-3 Deputy Director of Special Operations (DDSO).