MIA Facts Site

Current Department of Defense
Instruction 2310.5:
Accounting for Missing Persons

On January 31, 2000, the Department of Defense approved a new instruction governing the process of accounting for missing service members.  The Defense POW-Mission Personnel Office (DPMO) has on their web site a link to the DoD site where readers can find the   instruction and the forms associated with it; here is a link to the DPMO page: http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/special/dodi2310_5.htm

The DoD Instruction (2310.5) is long and detailed but I recommend that interested people read it.  Also, you may want to access the forms associated with the instruction.   Here is a quote from the DPMO page, complete with links to the instruction.

Quote from DPMO website

(January 31, 2000)

     The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USD (P)) signed the DoDI on Monday, January 31, 2000.  The DoDI prescribes uniform DoD procedures for the determination of the status of missing persons lost as a result of hostile action.   The ninety-eight page DoDI, an extremely user-friendly document, fulfills the requirements placed upon the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) by Title 10, United States Code Sections 1501-1513, the Missing Persons Act (MPA).

     The MPA places three general requirements upon the SECDEF.   First, the SECDEF must establish within OSD an office having the responsibility for DoD policy relating to missing persons.  Second, the SECDEF is required to establish policies throughout DoD for personnel recovery (including search, rescue, escape, and evasion).  The establishment of the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office and the issuance of various publications concerning personnel recovery have satisfied these two requirements.  Third, the SECDEF is required to prescribe uniform DoD procedures for the determination of the status of missing persons, and the systematic, comprehensive, and timely collection, analysis, review, dissemination, and periodic update of information related to such persons.  In addition, these procedures must be prescribed in a single directive applicable to all elements of DoD.  The DoDI fulfills this third requirement and completes the implementation of the MPA.

     The DoDI implements policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures regarding missing persons to be followed by military department boards of inquiry and by officials reviewing the reports of such boards; for the determination of the status of covered persons; and for the systemic, comprehensive, and timely collection, analysis, review, dissemination, and periodic update of information related to such persons.  The length of the DoDI is dictated by the fact that it meets the requirements of containing the procedures regarding missing persons for all of DoD, and is a user-friendly document that contains various aids for the user such as sample forms and schematics of the individual procedures.  The contents of the DoDI follow generally the sequence found in the MPA, e.g., Enclosure 3 implements Section 1502, Enclosure 4 implements Section 1503, and so forth.

     The DoDI assigns specific responsibilities to the USD (P), Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command Control, Communications, and Intelligence), Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Affairs, and Secretaries of the Military Departments.  Pertinent and helpful definitions are provided at Enclosure 2.  Implementation of the MPA accounting procedures follows the sequence of the MPA and is contained in enclosures 3-8, i.e., commander’s preliminary assessment and recommendation (Enclosure 3); secretarial review and appointment of initial board (Enclosure 4); subsequent boards of inquiry (Enclosure 5); further review boards (Enclosure 6); case resolution files (Enclosure 7); and preenactment boards (Enclosure 8).

     In addition to implementing the MPA, the DoDI at Enclosure 9 implements policy, assigns responsibility, and prescribes procedures for the Armed Forces Identification Review Board (AFIRB).  Currently, the AFIRB is a creature of memorandum.  Including the related procedures of the AFIRB in the DoDI gives the AFIRB permanence and clear OSD sanction.  The AFIRB will be used for appellate review in those cases where the person authorized to direct disposition of remains (PADD) declines to accept the remains and requests review before the AFIRB.  The DoDI sets forth procedures for the use of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).  The procedures provide that if a case reaches the AFIRB, in exceptional circumstance, as determined by the director, DPMO, the PADD shall be afforded the opportunity to submit the remains for private mtDNA testing when the Government has used mtDNA testing as part of its recommended identification and the additional testing will not wholly consume the remains.   In addition, the procedures of the AFIRB have been made applicable to the remains from all conflicts and enhanced to provide due process similar to that statutorily required at MPA boards.

     The DoDI is extremely user friendly.  For example, it provides definitions to help the user understand the terminology, forms for the various boards to use for recording their actions taken, schematics that detail the individual procedures, and a variety of form letters for various officials to use in accomplishing their tasks.

     Sections 1508, 1510, 1511, and 1512 of the MPA do not require implementation.

     Washington Headquarters Services, The Pentagon, is distributing the DoDI and the DoD forms contained therein on the Internet at http://web7.whs.osd.mil/corres.htm.   Once at this site, to access the DoDI, click on "INSTRUCTIONS" under the "DoD Issuances" column and then scroll down to "DODI 2310.5".  To access the associated forms, click on "LINKS TO OTHER DOCUMENTS" under the "Information" column, then click on "DoD Forms".  Next, you click on "Department of Defense Forms" and then scroll down to the appropriate form (DD2809, DD2910, DD2811 or DD2812).  There also will be a link at the DoDI web site to the DoD forms contained in the DoDI.

     Publication of the DoDI completes implementation of the MPA.   Not only does publication satisfy the legal requirements of the MPA, but it will also implement the protections for DoD personnel who are placed in harm’s way.

Posted 1 June 2000