POW/MIA Affairs Committee Update November/December 2016

There remain 1,618 missing from the Vietnam War, unchanged since June 9, 2016.

On August 2-4 a meeting was held in Hawaii between a Lao delegation headed by H.E. Khoata Phaliouong, Director General of Europe and Americas Department of the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Brig. Gen. Mark S. Spindler, Deputy Director of the Defense Prisoner of War Accountability Agency (DPAA) – Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). One of the main topics was to structure an agreement for U.S. teams to remain at incident locations in Laos to increase on-site operations and increase the number of personnel allowed in-country when needed. The personnel increase request was agreed to and consideration will be given to setting up base camps at incident sites on a case-by-case basis.

In September Gen. Spindler and Col. Mike Gann, DPAA Director of the Asia Pacific Region, met in Hanoi with Vietnamese officials to discuss ways to achieve greater accountability with fewer assets in the field. DPAA also met in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to discuss resolving the border conflict that is preventing a recovery mission in an area bordering Vietnam.

Fern O. Sumpter Winbush, Acting Director of DPAA since the resignation of Michael Linnington, said, “DPAA stands ready to support any mission resulting in the return of our U.S. personnel,” in response to a New York Times article, “In Rare Encounter, a Private U.S. Delegation Visits North Korea.”

By Grant Coates, Co-Chair

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