McCaskill Continues Work to Fill POW/MIA Agency Director Vacancy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote today to Defense Secretary James Mattis outlining her continued concerns that the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency remains without a permanent director following the departure of the previous director in July 2016.

The agency is responsible for providing the fullest possible accounting of missing service members from past conflicts. A crucial reason for the agency’s creation in 2013—a result of Sen. McCaskill’s oversight efforts—was to streamline accounting functions to end inefficiencies, mismanagement, and a fragmented chain of command. However, as recently as January 2017, the agency reported that the hiring process continues and that no selection has been made.

“We need to have a process and timeline for hiring a permanent director,” said McCaskill. “Families and loved ones of service members deserve an agency with strong leadership that is making best efforts to provide information about the recovery our missing soldiers.”

As McCaskill’s letter today makes clear, “A permanent director ensures that the agency continues to make sustained progress. The longer this position remains vacant the greater the potential for the agency to backslide on its hard-won accomplishments.”

The letter requests a review of the hiring process to ensure that a qualified director is hired as soon as possible. It also requests an update on the hiring process by March 10, 2017. Over the last four years, McCaskill has led the efforts to improve the process of accounting for missing service members. Following McCaskill’s work to surface severe mismanagement, numerous whistleblower complains, infighting and more in the process to account for missing service members, she spearheaded the creation of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency as part of the annual defense bill.

A copy of McCaskill’s letter to Secretary Mattis is available online HERE.

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