As requested by some of you, I’ve attached two DRAFT resolutions that we believe would be helpful to the POW/MIA accounting effort. Both are timely and reflect the current situation that is, of course, subject to change, but this issue always is. A united front in pushing this agenda could be very effective, especially at this particular time. There is no question that we need reinforcement by the major national veteran organizations; numbers count, period. If any of you has questions, please feel free to let us know by phone or email.
Thanks in advance for your consideration. We tried to make both resolutions non-controversial, but still meaningful and, in the case of the US-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIA Affairs, entirely within what we all, collectively, have conveyed to the White House, DoD, DAV, and Members of Congress.
RESOLUTION #1: SUSTAINING PRIORITY AND FUNDING FOR ACCOUNTING OPERATIONS
WHEREAS, Congress mandated in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that the POW/MIA accounting community must develop the capacity to identify 200 remains per year by 2015; and
WHEREAS, accounting for personnel listed as POW, MIA and KIA/BNR from the Vietnam War, Cold War, Korean War and World War II, as well as two listed as KIA/BNR from Desert Storm/the Gulf War, is of the utmost importance; and
WHEREAS, the accounting community made clear it would be impossible to meet the stated identification goal without increased funding and personnel, unless resources were redirected to exhumation of gravesites in national cemeteries or to selected sites of multiple casualties, thus degrading ongoing efforts; and
WHEREAS, recent US policy interest in renewing accounting efforts in North Korea has added additional requirements and, despite assurances from the White House, Department of Defense and U.S. Pacific Command that adequate funds will be available, there is continuing concern that current budgetary constraints may impact negatively on the accounting mission; and
WHEREAS, political circumstances, environmental conditions and policy interests pertaining to each of the countries in which US personnel were lost during the Vietnam War, Korean War, Cold War and World War II differ greatly, some posing significant challenges in obtaining agreements for access and cooperation; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the (name of organization), assembled in (location/national convention), on (date), calls on Congress to appropriate funding and personnel for FY13 – FY18 necessary to expand the pace and scope of US field investigations and remains recovery operations to ensure that answers for the families of Americans still missing and unaccounted-for from all our Nation’s past wars are pursued simultaneously as a matter of highest national priority to the United States Government and the American people.
#2: RESTORING THE US-RUSSIA JOINT COMMISSION ON POW/MIA AFFAIRS
WHEREAS, in 1992, the US-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIA Affairs (USRJC) was established by Presidents George H. W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin to determine the fates of personnel from the United States and the former Soviet Union still missing and unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War, the Cold War, Korean War and World War II, as well as the former USSR’s war in Afghanistan; and
WHEREAS, the USRJC and its mission have been supported by every President of the United States since formation; and
WHEREAS, in 2006, President George W. Bush appointed General Robert “Doc” Foglesong, USAF Retired, as US Co-chair and, in June 2011, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appointed Ms. Yekaterina Priyezzheva as Russian Co-chair and more than 30 Commissioners to the Russian side of the Commission; and
WHEREAS, over the last few years, the Department of Defense has broken promises of support for the USRJC, redirecting funding and personnel to other tasks and causing irreparable damage to the USRJC and its ability to accomplish its mission; and
WHEREAS, the (name of organization) and other veteran and POW/MIA family member organizations have repeatedly asked the President of the United States to reinforce his support for the Commission with little response; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the (name of organization), meeting in (location) on (date) for our (purpose/meeting/convention) calls on the President to reaffirm his commitment to the USRJC as a Presidential Commission, to General Robert “Doc” Foglesong, USAF (Ret) as US Chair, and to their mission through publicly citing his policy priority and backing; and be it further
RESOLVED, that we call on the Secretary of Defense to restore to the USRJC the funding and personnel diverted to other POW/MIA-related tasks, thus ensuring the USRJC and its mission can be restored to its full potential; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the USRJC remain an independent Presidential Commission, with the Department of Defense providing funding and personnel as determined necessary by the Commission.