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Personnel Accounting

The United States government is committed to obtaining the fullest possible accounting for Americans held captive or otherwise missing from our nation's ongoing and past conflicts, to prepare and train personnel who may become isolated and to recover those who become missing in the future.

When American personnel remain captive, missing, or otherwise unaccounted-for at the conclusion of hostilities, the DoD accounting community becomes the responsible agent for determining the fate of the missing and where possible, recovering them alive or recovering and identifying the remains of the dead.

For those killed-in-action, the accounting community is charged with locating, recovering and identifying their remains. More than 83,000 Americans remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War.

To accomplish this goal, DPMO develops and recommends policy guidance on personnel accounting, oversees the implementation of existing policies and provides the accounting community with oversight and coordination. DPMO also conducts research, analyzes information and investigates the cases of missing personnel.

The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) is the operational agency responsible for worldwide investigations, recoveries, and identifications. JPAC's Central Identification Laboratory, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology's Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, and the Air Force's Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory provide identification and other scientific support to the accounting mission.

The personnel accounting mission encompasses five key processes and two supporting functions that are common for all conflicts.

Key Processes
  • International Negotiation and Cooperation
  • Research and Analysis
  • Investigation
  • Excavation
  • Identification of Remains
Supporting Functions
  • Service Casualty Offices and Family Communication
  • Public Outreach

DoD Policies