Not All Dysfunctional

The section of the Defense Department’s Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command responsible for going out worldwide and collecting the remains of fallen US service personnel “has been and continues to be dysfunctional,” said Paul Cole, a fellow at JPAC’s Central Identification Laboratory in Honolulu. However, “I do not share the view that the entire JPAC operation is dysfunctional,” he told the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel panel on Aug. 1. He cited the efficient work of the command’s laboratory operations to identify the remains. “The fundamental, chronic problem that continues to plague JPAC concerns the low quantity and marginal quality of remains coming into the JPAC-CIL as a result of the failure” of the command’s investigative arm, he said. The annual flow of remains into the lab since 2005 is “sufficient to allow the CIL to produce only a small percentage of the 200 identifications Congress required JPAC to make per year beginning in Fiscal 2015,” said Cole. He produced an internal JPAC report in late 2011 that highlighted these shortcomings. Someone leaked this report to the media, leading to recent press reports presenting an unflattering picture of the command. (Cole’s written testimony)