10 U.S. Code § 1509 - Program to resolve missing person cases

(a) Program Required; Covered Conflicts.— The Secretary of Defense shall implement a comprehensive, coordinated, integrated, and fully resourced program to account for persons described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of section 1513(1) of this title who are unaccounted for from the following conflicts:
(1)World War II during the period beginning on December 7, 1941, and ending on December 31, 1946, including members of the armed forces who were lost during flight operations in the Pacific theater of operations covered by section 576 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (Public Law 106–65; 10 U.S.C. 1501 note).
(2)The Cold War during the period beginning on September 2, 1945, and ending on August 21, 1991.
(3)The Korean War during the period beginning on June 27, 1950, and ending on January 31, 1955.
(4)The Indochina War era during the period beginning on July 8, 1959, and ending on May 15, 1975.
(5)The Persian Gulf War during the period beginning on August 2, 1990, and ending on February 28, 1991.
(6)Such other conflicts in which members of the armed forces served as the Secretary of Defense may designate.
(b) Implementation.—
(1)The Secretary of Defense shall implement the program within the Department of Defense through the designated Agency Director.
(2)
(A)The Secretary shall assign or detail to the designated Defense Agency on a full-time basis a senior medical examiner from the personnel of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System. The primary duties of the medical examiner so assigned or detailed shall include the identification of remains in support of the function of the designated Agency Director to account for unaccounted for persons covered by subsection (a).
(B)In carrying out functions under this chapter, the medical examiner so assigned or detailed shall report to the designated Agency Director.
(C)The medical examiner so assigned or detailed shall—
(i)exercise scientific identification authority;
(ii)establish identification and laboratory policy consistent with the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System; and
(iii)advise the designated Agency Director on forensic science disciplines.
(D)Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted as affecting the authority of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner under section 1471 of this title.
(c) Treatment as Missing Persons.— Each unaccounted for person covered by subsection (a) shall be considered to be a missing person for purposes of the applicability of other provisions of this chapter to the person.
(d) Establishment of Personnel Files; Centralized Database.—
(1)The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that a personnel file is established and maintained for each person covered by subsection (a) if the Secretary—
(A)possesses any information relevant to the status of the person; or
(B)receives any new information regarding the missing person as provided in subsection (e).
(2)The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that each file established under this subsection contains all relevant information pertaining to a person covered by subsection (a) and is readily accessible to all elements of the department, the combatant commands, and the armed forces involved in the effort to account for the person.
(3)Each file established under this subsection shall be handled in accordance with, and subject to the provisions of, section 1506 of this title in the same manner as applies to the file of a missing person otherwise subject to such section.
(4)The Secretary of Defense shall establish and maintain a single centralized database and case management system containing information on all missing persons for whom a file has been established under this subsection. The database and case management system shall be accessible to all elements of the Department of Defense involved in the search, recovery, identification, and communications phases of the program established by this section.
(e) Review of Status Requirements.—
(1)If new information (as described in paragraph (3)) is found or received that may be related to one or more unaccounted for persons covered by subsection (a), whether or not such information specifically relates (or may specifically relate) to any particular such unaccounted for person, that information shall be provided to the Secretary of Defense.
(2)Upon receipt of new information under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall ensure that—
(A)the information is treated under paragraph (2) of subsection (c) ofsection 1505 of this title, relating to addition of the information to the personnel file of a person and notification requirements, in the same manner as information received under paragraph (1) under such subsection; and
(B)the information is treated under paragraph (3) of subsection (c) andsubsection (d) of such section, relating to a board review under such section, in the same manner as information received under paragraph (1) of such subsection (c).
(3)For purposes of this subsection, new information is information that is credible and that—
(A)is found or received after November 18, 1997, by a United States intelligence agency, by a Department of Defense agency, or by a person specified in section 1504(g) of this title; or
(B)is identified after November 18, 1997, in records of the United States as information that could be relevant to the case of one or more unaccounted for persons covered by subsection (a).
(f) Coordination Requirements.—
(1)In carrying out the program, the designated Agency Director shall ensure coordination with the Secretaries of the military departments, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the commanders of the combatant commands.
(2)In carrying out the program, the Secretary of Defense shall establish close coordination with the Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Council staff to enhance the ability of the Department of Defense to account for persons covered by subsection (a).
(3)In carrying out the program, the designated Agency Director shall coordinate all external communications and events associated with the program.

Source

(Added Pub. L. 104–106, div. A, title V, § 569(b)(1),Feb. 10, 1996, 110 Stat. 348; amended Pub. L. 104–201, div. A, title V, § 578(f)(1), (2)(A),Sept. 23, 1996, 110 Stat. 2537; Pub. L. 105–85, div. A, title V, § 599(e),Nov. 18, 1997, 111 Stat. 1769; Pub. L. 106–65, div. A, title X, § 1066(a)(14),Oct. 5, 1999, 113 Stat. 771; Pub. L. 111–84, div. A, title V, § 541(a),Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2296; Pub. L. 113–291, div. A, title IX, § 916(d), (f)(1),Dec. 19, 2014, 128 Stat. 3478, 3479.)
Amendments

2014—Pub. L. 113–291, § 916(f)(1), substituted “Program to resolve missing person cases” for “Program to resolve preenactment missing person cases” in section catchline.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 113–291, § 916(d)(1)(A), struck out “Process” after “Implementation” in heading.
Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 113–291, § 916(d)(1)(B), substituted “through the designated Agency Director” for “POW/MIA accounting community”.
Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 113–291, § 916(d)(1)(C), added par. (2) and struck out former par. (2) which defined “POW/MIA accounting community”.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 113–291, § 916(d)(2)(A), inserted “; Centralized Database” after “Files” in heading.
Subsec. (d)(4). Pub. L. 113–291, § 916(d)(2)(B), added par. (4).
Subsec. (f)(1). Pub. L. 113–291, § 916(d)(3)(A), substituted “In carrying out the program, the designated Agency Director shall ensure coordination” for “In establishing and carrying out the program, the Secretary of Defense shall coordinate”
Subsec. (f)(2). Pub. L. 113–291, § 916(d)(3)(B), inserted “staff” after “National Security Council” and struck out “POW/MIA accounting community” after “Department of Defense”.
Subsec. (f)(3). Pub. L. 113–291, § 916(d)(3)(C), added par. (3).
2009—Pub. L. 111–84amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section consisted of subsecs. (a) to (d) relating to review of status of missing person cases arising before enactment of this chapter.
1999—Subsec. (a)(2)(A), (B). Pub. L. 106–65substituted “November 18, 1997,” for “the date of the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998”.
1997—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 105–85, § 599(e)(1), added subsec. (a) and struck out former subsec. (a) which read as follows:
“(a) Review of Status.—In the case of an unaccounted for person covered by section 1501 (c) of this title who is described in subsection (b), if new information that could change the status of that person is found or received by a United States intelligence agency, by a Department of Defense agency, or by a person specified in section 1504 (g) of this title, that information shall be provided to the Secretary of Defense with a request that the Secretary evaluate the information in accordance with sections 1505 (c) and 1505 (d) of this title.”
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 105–85, § 599(e)(2), added subsec. (d).
1996—Pub. L. 104–201, § 578(f)(2)(A), struck out “, special interest” after “Preenactment” in section catchline.
Subsecs. (c), (d). Pub. L. 104–201, § 578(f)(1), redesignatedsubsec. (d) as (c) and struck out former subsec. (c) which read as follows:
“(c) Special Rule for Persons Classified as ‘KIA/BNR’.—In the case of a person described in subsection (b) who was classified as ‘killed in action/body not recovered’, the case of that person may be reviewed under this section only if the new information referred to in subsection (a) is compelling.”
Implementation

Pub. L. 111–84, div. A, title V, § 541(d),Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2298, provided that:
“(1) Priority.—A priority of the program required by section 1509 of title 10, United States Code, as amended by subsection (a), to resolve missing person cases arising before the enactment of chapter 76 of such title by section 569 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 (Public Law 104–106; 110 Stat. 336) [approved Feb. 10, 1996] shall be the return of missing persons to United States control alive.
“(2) Accounting for goal.—In implementing the program, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the officials specified in subsection (f)(1) ofsection 1509 of title 10, United States Code, shall provide such funds, personnel, and resources as the Secretary considers appropriate to increase significantly the capability and capacity of the Department of Defense, the Armed Forces, and commanders of the combatant commands to account for missing persons so that, beginning with fiscal year 2015, the POW/MIA accounting community has sufficient resources to ensure that at least 200 missing persons are accounted for under the program annually.
“(3) Definitions.—In this subsection:
“(A) The term ‘accounted for’ has the meaning given such term in section 1513 (3)(B) of title 10, United States Code.
“(B) The term ‘POW/MIA accounting community’ has the meaning given such term in section 1509(b)(2) of such title.”

 

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