Samuel J. Locklear III,
Pacom Commander Supports Review of JPAC
July 18, 2013
The Joint Prisoners of War, Missing
in Action Accounting Command has an important and unique global mission
and a sacred duty, so defense leaders must ensure the unit has the
organizational construct, the right oversight and the right direction,
the commander of JPAC’s higher headquarters said today.
Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command,
responded to Pentagon reporters’ questions about JPAC during a news
conference here. JPAC conducts global search, recovery, and laboratory
operations to identify the remains of unaccounted-for Americans from
past conflicts. The Hawaii-based unit reports to Pacom.
Media outlets reported earlier this week that an internal review
performed at JPAC had indicated organizational issues. Locklear pointed
out the unit has a limited, set number of experts to perform its unique
“I do think that there are areas where we need to take harder looks at
how it is organized and how the mission steps are prioritized,” the
admiral said. He added he’s very supportive of the announcement by James
N. Miller, undersecretary of defense for policy, that the department
will perform a deeper review of JPAC operations.
“The people in that organization are good people,” Locklear said. “And
they've done a lot of good work. And they continue to work in some very
difficult conditions and difficult places under different political
Locklear said the real issue, for him, is ensuring JPAC has prioritized
where and how they pursue their mission, “so that we can get them on an
up-ramp as far as number of remains that get recovered.”
noted the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 set a goal of 200
recoveries a year by 2015. “And we're not approaching that,” he said.
Locklear said the political will of the nations JPAC operates in, along
with support and access issues, often influence mission accomplishment.
“It's a very complex issue, globally, to try to get at,” he said. “ … I
just think that we need to work harder to make sure that the goal that
they've been given, that they can achieve it.”
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters during a July 9
news conference that reviewing JPAC operations is the prudent thing to
“We're going to review the concerns raised in the report to see how JPAC
is or isn't functioning well,” Little said. “And if steps need to be
taken to remedy what's happening inside JPAC, then we'll take action.”