POW/MIA Databases & Documents
In December 1991, Congress enacted Public
Law 102-190, commonly referred to as the McCain Bill. The statute requires
the Secretary of Defense to make available to the public--in a "library
like setting"--all information relating to the treatment, location,
and/or condition (T-L-C) of United States personnel who are unaccounted-for
from the Vietnam War. The facility chosen to receive this information
was the Library of Congress (LoC). The Federal Research Division (FRD)
created the PWMIA Database, the online index to those documents. The
microfilmed documents themselves are available at the Library of Congress
or borrowed through local libraries.
The mission of the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) is
to exercise policy, control, and oversight within DoD for the entire
process for investigation and recovery related to missing persons;
coordinate for DoD with other departments and agencies of the United
States on all matters concerning missing persons; and establish procedures
to be followed by DoD boards of inquiry. DPMO sends redacted documents
to FRD for indexing and microfilming.
In March 1992, the U.S. – Russia Joint Commission on POWs and
MIAs (USRJC) was established by direction of the Presidents of the
United States and the Russian Federation to serve as a forum through
which both nations seek to determine the fate of their missing servicemen.
DPMO provides direct analytical, investigative, and administrative
support to the USJRC through the Joint Commission Support Directorate.
The Commission’s objectives are to determine whether American
servicemen are being held against their will on the territory of the
former Soviet Union and, if so, to secure their immediate release and
repatriation; to locate and return to the United States the remains
of any deceased American servicemen interred in the former Soviet Union;
and to ascertain the facts regarding American servicemen who were not
repatriated and whose fate remains unresolved.