Deactivation merges organizations to become Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

| February 6, 2015 | 1 Comment
U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John Dolan (left), U.S. Pacific Command Chief of Staff; U.S. Army Master Sgt. Michael Swam (center), Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) senior enlisted leader; and U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Kelly McKeague (right), DPAA interim deputy director, perform the casing of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) colors during the JPAC Deactivation Ceremony, Jan. 30, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam-Hawaii. The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) select functions of the U.S. Air Forces Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory (LSEL) and JPAC officially merged as part of the ceremony to form the newly established DPAA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John Dolan (left), U.S. Pacific Command Chief of Staff; U.S. Army Master Sgt. Michael Swam (center), Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) senior enlisted leader; and U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Kelly McKeague (right), DPAA interim deputy director, perform the casing of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) colors during the JPAC Deactivation Ceremony, Jan. 30, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam-Hawaii. The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) select functions of the U.S. Air Forces Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory (LSEL) and JPAC officially merged as part of the ceremony to form the newly established DPAA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

Air Force Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal
Defense Media Activity – Hawaii News Bureau

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — Service members and civilians attended the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) Deactivation Ceremony, Jan. 30.

The ceremony also served as a way to officially merge the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), based in Washington, select functions of the Air Force Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory (LSEL), and JPAC into the newly established Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).

The Secretary of Defense announced U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Mike Franken as the DPAA interim director, U.S. Air Force Kelly Mckeague as the DPAA interim deputy, and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Linnington as the DPAA senior adviser, Jan. 9.

McKeague explained the reason behind the reorganization efforts.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Kelly McKeague, Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA) interim deputy director, delivers remarks during the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) Deactivation Ceremony, Jan. 30, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam-Hawaii. The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) and the JPAC officially merged as part of the ceremony to form the newly established DPAA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Kelly McKeague, Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA) interim deputy director, delivers remarks during the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) Deactivation Ceremony, Jan. 30, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam-Hawaii. The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) and the JPAC officially merged as part of the ceremony to form the newly established DPAA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

“The nation and the Department of Defense have been always committed, staunchly committed, to the solemn obligation that we have to search for, recover and identify the remains of service members from past conflicts,” McKeague said. “Today’s ceremony is a culmination of an effort that started with Secretary Hagel, last March, where he saw an opportunity to improve the way we do this mission. Today brings together, in an operational forum, three organizations that will now be charged with fulfilling this mission.”

McKeague said that the integration of DPMO, JPAC and LSEL will create challenges but will also promote and increase the mission’s capabilities.

”There are obviously structural differences and changes with an organization that brings together three different organizations into a solid and integrated organization, there are always challenges with that,” McKeague said. “With that also comes the opportunity to improve our processes, build upon established strengths that we have, and more importantly, move this mission forward with more effectiveness and more efficiency in how we fulfill this promise.”

JPAC’s mission was to provide the fullest possible accounting for U.S. personnel to their families and the nation. McKeague said that DPAA’s goals in fulfilling this promise won’t change, but only become stronger.

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Category: Defense Media Activity, News, Observances

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  1. Jpacker says:

    JPAC has now been officially dissolved. After multiple JPAC scandals were exposed by NBC, CBS, Fox News, NPR, the AP, Stars and Stripes and a host of other media outlets; the American public and families of our MIAs channeled their anger, frustration, humiliation, and feelings of betrayal to demand the immediate removal of those responsible for what the the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, called “disgraceful” when he described the situation at JPAC. The Secretary of Defense pledged to the American public that a “paradigm shift” away from “outdated, institutionalized thinking” at JPAC was in the offing. So far, the “deactivation” of JPAC has simply demoted the previous JPAC commander to the deputy commander position and “replaced” the previous JPAC scientific director with a figurehead who is not even allowed to office in the laboratory. The same old group of poor leaders and managers remain in control. Many, many more personnel changes are needed or else this fix of JPAC will be akin to putting a band aid on the top of a tumor and expecting the cancerous cells that caused the malignant growth to simply go away.

    The new agency commander inherits a long pattern of dysfunction, inefficient practices, wasteful and poor management, lack of leadership, and more than 40 pending complaints of sexual harassment by command personnel, EEO violations, criminal investigations, lawsuits, and complaints of managerial reprisal that were detailed in scathing official reports by the Inspector General’s Office and the Government Accountability Office. The same group of serial offenders responsible remain in the “new” DPAA. The same group that brought us multiple outrageous scandals including phony “arrival home” ceremonies, fraud, waste and abuse of government funds, and a “it can’t be done” attitude that produces only five or six dozen identifications a year with an annual budget that far exceeds $100 million. The same group that average ELEVEN YEARS to make an identification after remains are recovered. The same group who warehouse the backlogged sets of recovered remains of more than 1,000 American servicemen and women in cardboard boxes in the laboratory storage room. The same group who are incapable of identifying these heroes because their methods are antiquated and obsolete. More scandals by this group will soon come to light and there is no end in sight until they are gone for good.

    There are many truly dedicated men and women who worked at JPAC in non-management roles who believed in the mission: researchers, military recovery specialists, and field investigators who hack through jungles, climb mountains, and wade rivers only to be sabotaged in their work by a completely dysfunctional command. They are dismayed, disillusioned, disheartened, disgusted, and still disbelieving of what they experienced at JPAC and what they now see as a lack of action in holding those responsible accountable for their abysmal failures.

    The entire operation that was JPAC must be deconstructed, brick by brick, so that a new phoenix can rise from the ashes of JPAC’s disaster. Such needed massive reform cannot be accomplished by changing the name of the organization, removing just a few low level contract researchers, re-shuffling the same poor managers to new desks and titles in a brand new $85 million dollar building in Hawaii, and allowing those in the JPAC laboratory who continue to support the complacent attitude of not keeping up with modern science such as DNA, to keep their jobs. To do so would only allow the same infectious disease of arrogance and lies to the families of American heroes to take root all over again. The disaster that was JPAC has been added to the VA Hospital, Dover Mortuary, Arlington Cemetery, and the Viet Nam Unknown debacles. Tthe ghosts of over 83,000 brave American heroes who remain unaccounted for, and their families, are deserving of much more than the status quo of leaving those in charge at JPAC to stay and infect the “new” organization before it is even off the ground.

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