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McCaskill Demands Answers on POW/MIA Fellowship Program

Following reports that accounting efforts are deeply disorganized, Senator requests information on program costs, quality controls

September 17, 2013

WASHINGTON - After leading a recent Senate hearing showing POW/MIA accounting efforts in disarray, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today demanded answers concerning the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) fellowship program-a program that the Department of Defense heavily relies on to conduct those efforts.

"It's clear that POW and MIA accounting efforts are disorganized and lacking oversight," said McCaskill, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight and daughter of a World War II veteran. "This fellowship program is taking up significant resources and we need some better information on where this money is going and how it's aiding recovery efforts. That's one step toward fixing this, and giving the families of our POW and MIA troops confidence again in these efforts."

McCaskill is seeking information from both the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, and the President of Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Andy Page. McCaskill's letters seek detailed information on the funding of the program, its participants, as well as documents describing the relationship between the Oak Ridge and the Department of Defense.

"I (have) learned that the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC)...relies heavily on ORISE fellows to accomplish its mission, and that a significant portion of what JPAC pays for fellows goes toward overhead," McCaskill's letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz reads.

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office showed that multiple groups had overlapping authority and control over POW/MIA searches, and lacked a cohesive mission. The report also says that the various operations would be more efficient and transparent if they were centralized under a single command structure.

McCaskill, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently demanded answers about an internal report that found that a Pentagon program aimed at finding, identifying, and returning the remains of American troops missing in action has been woefully mismanaged-and that senior officials may have suppressed the critical report.

A copy of McCaskill's letters to Energy Secretary Moniz and Oak Ridge Associated University's President Andy Page are available online HERE.

Read more about McCaskill's fight for stronger accountability in Washington, HERE.

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